IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Saturday, March 20, 2021
CONTACT: Linda Finn, Executive Director
(401) 258-6851 ~

Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence Condemns Violence Against Asian and Asian American Communities

Providence, Rhode Island (March 20, 2021) — The Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV) condemns the rising tide of discrimination and violence faced by Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. We are particularly outraged over the act of gun violence that left six women of Asian descent among its victims earlier this week in Atlanta, Georgia. We deeply sympathize with the trauma Asian-identified communities in Rhode Island are experiencing at this time. All Americans deserve to live, work, and enjoy their lives in an environment free from hatred and in which they feel safe and valued.

There is a long and complex history behind these acts of hatred and violence, and this most recent tragedy appears to have occurred at the intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny, and xenophobia. But there is no doubt that the inflammatory political rhetoric utilized by former President Trump and his followers related to China and the intentional racialization of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to a steep rise in hate crimes against Asian-identified members of our communities. Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that tracks incidents of violence and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S., reported nearly 3,800 instances of discrimination against Asians over the past year alone, and the actual number of incidents is likely much higher.

The tragedy in Atlanta also underscores the continuing need for tighter firearm regulation. Georgia residents must wait longer to receive an abortion than to buy a gun. The alleged shooter was able to exploit the fact that there is no waiting period to purchase firearms in Georgia and committed his acts of violence against the Asian-American community the same day he legally purchased his firearm. This is unacceptable.

Here in Rhode Island, the RICAGV is promoting a package of bills that will make all Rhode Islanders safer from crimes of hate committed with firearms including bills that would limit large-capacity magazines, regulate military-style assault weapons, keep guns out of schools, as well as bills that would require safe storage of firearms, crack down on straw purchases, and streamline the state’s concealed carry permitting system.

The RICAGV stands firmly against discrimination, racism, and hatred, and is committed to diversity and tolerance. We stand behind members of Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander communities in Rhode Island and the right of all individuals to live in a state where they can feel safe from hate crimes.