“Asian American workers are a vital part of our labor movement and have shown an immense amount of dedication throughout this pandemic. We will not stand by while members of our family are targeted,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “The murders in Atlanta are a horrific and disgusting part of the surging violence Asian Americans have faced over the past year, and reinforce that we all must continue to fight against anti-Asian racism in all forms. Our condolences go out to the victims’ loved ones.”
“I sadly can’t say I’m surprised by this violence. This is what the ‘small racism’ leads to,” said Clayola Brown, AFL-CIO civil rights director and A. Philip Randolph Institute president. “It’s not just a word, it’s not just a racial slur, it’s not just a joke about eyes or carrying disease. Those things build a larger system of racism where things like this happen.”
Monica Thammarath, President of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO stated, “We grieve for the eight workers who were killed in Atlanta. We take a moment to acknowledge that many of them were the aunties and immigrant women in our communities who face immense barriers to finding work and supporting their families. We also should not overlook the fact that these were Asian and Asian American women working in industries with few worker protections and oversight. It is misogyny and white supremacy that both empower white nationalists to acts of violence, and policymakers to exclude workers from protections when they are in industries disproportionately represented by women and immigrants. We will hold the women and their coworkers and their grieving loved ones in our hearts as we continue to fight for our communities.”
APALA released this statement on the shootings. On March 5, the AFL-CIO and APALA released a joint statement, Labor Movement Fighting Anti-Asian Racism in All Forms, following up on a June 2020 statement by the AFL-CIO Executive Council. We will remain vigilant in getting to the root of bias and work together in communities across the country to end racism in all forms.