March 24, 2021
We at Washington Sea Grant (WSG) are deeply saddened and angered by the murders that occurred in Atlanta spas last week, the latest manifestation of the hate and violence escalating against Asians over the past year.
Asians, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are integral members of our community, contribute to our civic and cultural lives and play key roles in our fisheries and maritime industries in Washington. AAPI communities have long been critical contributors to the success of aquaculture and the sustainability of our marine foods. Their contributions have been significant but have often gone unnoticed or been minimized. As an organization that celebrates the diversity of people and the environment and the complex interactions between them, we will speak out against acts of hate and violence in our communities.
While anti-Asian sentiments date back to the 1800s, anti-Asian hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities have increased 149 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The non-profit organization Stop AAPI Hate reports that they have received 3,795 self-reported incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans across the U.S. from mid-March 2020 through February 2021. The actual number of incidents of violence and harassment against Asians and Asian Americans is expected to be significantly higher.
At WSG, we recognize that speaking up is important, yet this is not enough. We are committed to creating welcoming, inclusive and safe spaces to do our work, both in communities and in our organization — spaces where AAPI, and all people, feel accepted, valued and safe, with particular care and concern for underrepresented and underserved communities.
Last year, we committed to making changes in support of Black communities. We have also worked intentionally to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in all areas of our work through an active DEI workgroup, an updated values statement and a 10-year roadmap. Today we recommit ourselves to centering DEI values into our everyday work and lives. And, in centering with AAPI communities in mind, we will:
- Commit to highlighting contributions of AAPI in fisheries and maritime industries
- Identify and communicate procedures for reporting and intervening in incidences of bias, harassment and microaggressions
- Add additional AAPI resources to our current DEI website resources page
- Report on AAPI and other Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) news in monthly newsletters and magazine articles
- Expand our learning and understanding of anti-Asian racism
Racism is a public health crisis and WSG is committed to addressing this in the work we do. We also encourage our partners and communities to address America’s deeply embedded racism. You can find some resources here that we think will help you get started.*
We stand with AAPI communities against anti-AAPI racism and hate and recommit ourselves to making positive change by learning more and intentionally addressing racism and white supremacy in our daily work and lives.
Washington Sea Grant
*An asterisk after links on this resource page signify recent additions.