WASHINGTON – Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) issued the following statement June 1 on the murder of George Floyd and the protests and riots that have followed in major cities across the nation:
“The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community stands with our brothers and sisters in the Black community in mourning the death of George Floyd and in demanding justice and accountability for his murder. Justice must mean investigating and punishing every officer who played a role in Mr. Floyd’s completely avoidable death – including those who watched it happen without even attempting to intercede.
“But justice must also mean real, lasting change. Because the sad truth is George Floyd is not the first Black person to be killed because of the color of his skin. Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, and countless others before them died similarly unjustifiable deaths at the hands of police. But still nothing has changed. And so true justice means ending a broken law enforcement and justice system where Black and Brown lives are disproportionately targeted and treated as disposable.
“For centuries, racial inequality in America has hurt Black and Brown communities. African Americans have been told where to live, work, and play. They’ve been surveilled, intimidated, and lynched. They’ve had the police called on them for watching birds in the park, and have been killed for wearing a hoodie, going for a jog, or simply sitting in the comforts of their own home. And in almost every case, their skin color was the only evidence needed to justify lethal use of force and letting the guilty go free.
“But for centuries, these obvious injustices have gone unaddressed. Pleas for justice have been unanswered, or worse, dismissed. Even those who peacefully took a knee before sporting events were called un-American as a way of dismissing any attempt to start a national conversation on the impact of centuries of systemic racism.
“But people will not be ignored forever. Martin Luther King Jr. said ‘a riot is the language of the unheard.’ And that is what we are seeing now as unheard and anguished Americans of all backgrounds fill the streets to demand justice. I support every American demanding justice and making their voice heard at this time.
But violence is not the cure for violence, and I urge all protestors to avoid looting or the destruction of property. When righteous causes are usurped by looters and those seeking to inflict violence, it distracts from our purpose and does nothing to honor the memory of George Floyd.
“Although our experiences are different, the AAPI community is painfully familiar with our own decades of oppression and inequality. From the Chinese Exclusion Act – which denied equality to people like my grandfather – to the shameful imprisonment of innocent Japanese Americans during World War II, AAPIs know the sting of racial prejudice as well. And that is why it is so important that we stand united right now.
“As the spread of coronavirus and anti-Asian xenophobia led to an increase in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans, the support and solidarity from the Black and Hispanic communities told us we were not alone, and gave us hope that unity could defeat bigotry. Today, the AAPI community must do the same.
“That is why CAPAC stands with the Congressional Black Caucus in condemning police brutality and calling for justice for the countless Black men, women, and children who have been murdered for no other reason than the color of their skin. We must work together to address systemic inequality and to ensure that all Americans, regardless of their race, feel safe and have equal justice under law.”