Stop Asian Hate

Jill Robinson

The devastating news that came this week out of the Atlanta area in America of a racially-motivated attack resulting in the tragic murders of 8 people is sadly not as surprising as it ought to be. During the coronavirus pandemic New York Police estimate that there has been a 1,900% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes and shockingly this is likely an underestimate.

Anti-Asian sentiment, just as with all prejudice, is sadly nothing new. Powerful people throughout history have used divisive rhetoric to turn us against one another. However this latest spike in anti-Asian hate crimes appeared against a backdrop where the pandemic was used by some to unmask a hatred that was bubbling under in our society all along. Diseases originating from animals are also nothing new and stem directly from how they are treated. These zoonotic diseases spring up from all corners of the globe where farming happens, especially in areas of intensive production. Today thousands of pandemics are waiting in the wings and originate from our mistreatment of animals and harmful practices worldwide. Anyone who chooses to point fingers about the source of this one disease is choosing an inflammatory path that risks the safety of our fellow human beings. We always have the option to be better than that and choose the path of kindness. Violence and hatred will never build a better world.

Animals Asia is first and foremost an Asian centric organisation and the majority of our staff are Asian including three out of four of our programme directors and two out of our five senior management team so this is a very personal issue for our Animals Asia family. Our core values of kindness, respect, empathy, courage and tenacity are values that have been exemplified in the daily work of our wonderful Asian colleagues and friends.

You might ask “why is this particularly important to an animal welfare organisation?” Over the many decades we’ve been working in Asia a theme has recurred time and again: people pointing to the treatment of animals in Asia as an excuse to cast all Asian people as other, lesser or more unkind. This is a position we refute with all our hearts. There is only one race of people, the human race.

Animals Asia advocates for animals and humans who have to learn to coexist within a kinder ecosystem where humans have less entitlement over animals. Every society has inhumane farming practices and every society bears responsibility for habitat destruction and species extinction. But it is only by coming together and lifting one another up, with courage and tenacity, that we will be able to make the progress required for the animals sake and our own.

As an organisation we hope to combat anti-Asian sentiment by showing the amazing work of our brilliant Asian colleagues, and the NGO’s across Asia, who put kindness in action every single day. We also do not tolerate any form of racism on our social media platforms and today we’re making that extra clear by including an anti-racism statement in the about section of our channels.

We hope that you will join us in bringing people together, showing that there is a kinder alternative. Please join us in thinking of those who have lost loved ones to the virulent disease that is racism and vow to oppose it wherever it rears its ugly head.

We stand with our many Asian colleagues and friends in condemning the hatred shown to our Asian brothers and sisters around the world.

I am a white western woman who has lived in Asia for decades and having led this organisation for 23 years I could fill a book on anti-Asian racism I’ve witnessed and opposed. However at this time I’d like to pass my platform over to my colleague and great friend, Animals Asia’s USA Country Director, Paula Burton to share her perspective as an Asian American woman.

Paula Burton

I’m going to keep this brief because I think we’re all in a state of shock. The events that have unfolded this week have been devastating but sadly as an Asian American who has lived through this past year, they don’t come as a surprise.

Divisiveness in our country has reached a fever pitch and it’s almost inevitable that the consequences of that are the tragedies we’re almost becoming numbed to because of their frequency.

I feel lucky to work for an organisation that promotes the core values of kindness, respect,  empathy, and courage and I think people the world over could learn a lot from the approach Animals Asia takes, conquering cruelty with kindness,  on behalf of animals and humans alike.

I’d like to thank Jill for leading from the front on this. I've seen her speak to the issue and address these very difficult questions many times over the years. Time and time again, she's been able to soften hearts and open minds while also being highly respectful and empathetic to another person's ideology and viewpoint.

Animals Asia is not a political organisation, but it is a human organisation. Many of the injustices we encounter come about because people have forgotten that humans and animals aren’t so different. We all want to be safe, happy, free from pain and oppression based on the body we happen to be born into.

I think I speak for all of my colleagues when I say, it means a lot to us for Animals Asia to express solidarity and support in these, the most difficult times in my living memory.

As for practical things you can do to help #StopAsianHate here are a few suggestions:

If you live in America and you witness a hate incident please report it via this website: https://stopaapihate.org/ 

You can add our #StopAsianHate Facebook profile frame to your profile image by visiting this link:
Stop Asian Hate - Facebook profile frame

You can have conversations about racism in your communities, with your families and friends and challenge prejudice wherever you find it.

Thank you for your continued support.

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