UN Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Cousens issued the following statement in response to the rise in racially motivated violence against the Asian and Pacific Islander Community:
This week saw a repellent attack on Asian American women in Atlanta, adding to thousands of reported hate crimes against Asians over the past year. Discrimination and violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders have skyrocketed during the pandemic, incited by political leaders, and resonating shamefully with some of American history’s worst chapters.
The United Nations Foundation condemns these hateful acts and the racism and xenophobia that fuel them. We abhor the recent rise in racially motivated violence against the Asian and Pacific Islander community in the United States, which evokes a painful history of prejudice, discrimination, and injustice experienced by Asian Americans for generations and is yet another searing reminder that racism has deep and stubborn roots in our society and institutions. Its persistence and prevalence are a stain on our collective conscience.
Racial discrimination and violence, and institutionalized expressions of white supremacy, continue to be the unacceptable lived experience of people of color in virtually every society in the world, exacerbating inequality and undermining human dignity that should be every person’s birthright.
We are about to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – for the 61st year in a row. Created in the wake of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, this day must be a clarion reminder that we must raise our voices to denounce and counter hateful supremacist ideologies wherever they fester; that we must all use the tools we have to demand and enact an end to systems that entrench and protect racist policies and practices; and that rooting out racism, racial prejudice, and racial discrimination in all its forms must be the urgent work of our time.