On Saturday, August 12th 2017, one of the largest organized white supremacists demonstrations in the 21st century took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. Local officials voted for the removal of a statue of Confederate General, Robert E. Lee which led to a clash between protesters and counter-protesters. In the midst of the chaos, a speeding car drove into the crowd of anti-racist demonstrators, taking the life of Heather Heyer and leading to the injury of 19 others.
The devastating events of August 12 was not just an attack on those protesting against fascism and oppression. This was an attack on the spirit of America itself, a country that prides itself on the ideals of democracy, equal rights, and new opportunities. Despite what some may believe as an issue where multiple sides are at fault, the dangerous ideology of white supremacy and neo-Nazism undoubtedly counters the very foundation that America is build upon.
Recent developments clearly demonstrate that America is certainly nowhere near a “post-racial society,” and the current presidency that emboldens hate speech and hate crimes is not a presidency that protects its people. Even though people have battled long and hard to get to where we are today, there truly is more to be done in this country to dismantle the oppression of social and racial minorities. Even today, we must continue to carry on the torch to speak out for equality and demand justice for people of all colors and creeds.
Although we cannot possibly fathom the pain that has hit Charlottesville, the Asian Pacific American Coalition would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the victims, their families, and all of Charlottesville. We stand united with individuals and organizations fighting to end bigotry in our society. As representatives of the Asian Pacific American community, we stand in solidarity with our fellow communities on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and beyond. To those who feel appalled or afraid in light of these events, we offer unconditional love and support.
Together, we stand strong. We will continue to work towards closing the rifts between many communities. By laying on solid foundations of awareness and unity within our community, we hope to continue to contribute to an inclusive and safe space on campus and in our society through education, resources, and collaboration.
APAC Board 2017-2018
Established in 1993, the Asian Pacific American Coalition was founded on the principles of giving Asian American students a voice in the face of adversary. Since then, we have accomplished much and expanded our vision to include Asian international organizations.