In recent days and weeks, we have witnessed horrible developments of violence occurring with increasing frequency in the U.S. against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). On March 16, eight people were killed in Georgia, six of whom were Asian women
. As FECS, we are deeply heartbroken by these murders and share in the collective mourning during this time. Nobody should ever be the victim of such targeted murderous violence. We all have the right to go about our daily lives and feel safe, without the fear of harassment or attack.
These heinous murders come at a time when Asian people are already experiencing increasing numbers of hate crimes
. To be clear, discrimination and violence against Asians is nothing new in US history. On the contrary, from government-sanctioned violation of rights (e.g. in the form of Japanese internment during World War II) to countless incidents of violence at the hands of angry mobs (e.g. in the form of anti-Chinese riots during the 1870s-80s), the history of the United States is rife with episodic violence against its Asian residents
Given this history, during the past year, it has been all too easy to scapegoat the Asian community in the US and ratchet up the latent anti-Asian feelings already present in society. After a year of targeted harassment and an upsurge of violence against Asians, coupled with the omnipresence of violence against women, this current attack is unfortunately not a one-off or random event. However, we cannot allow it to become normalized. We must make sure that this abhorrent event becomes a turning point and reverse these adverse trends by standing shoulder to shoulder to stop racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and discrimination in all of its forms.
In FECS, many of our members are international, and many are from Asian countries. Part of our mission is to fight various forms of discrimination we regularly encounter due to our national origin, race, ethnicity, citizenship status, and more. FECS supports APS leadership in condemning anti-Asian racism
; this is a time for us to recommit ourselves to our mission and redouble our efforts. If you have any thoughts you would like to share with the FECS executive committee, please do not hesitate to reach out to our chair (Shaowei Li) or international affairs officer (Mehmet Dogan).
Executive Committee of the APS Forum for Early Career ScientistsApproved by Shaowei Li, FECS Chair.