Minnesota Opera’s Response to the Atlanta Shooting
Minnesota Opera denounces anti-Asian rhetoric and violence in the clearest and strongest possible terms. We also stand in solidarity with our AAPI communities both here in Minnesota and across the country. To our AAPI siblings, please know that we love you, we mourn with you, and we will fight tirelessly alongside you in the struggle to dismantle white supremacy.
Enough is enough.
Over the course of the past year, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across the U.S. have had to endure much more than a deadly pandemic. As a direct result of false and racist scapegoating over COVID-19, members of these communities face a sharp, horrific increase in verbal and physical attacks and white supremacist violence. According to a report by the organization Stop AAPI Hate, in the past year nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian violence have been reported in the U.S. This represents an increase of 149% over the past year, with AAPI women twice as likely to be victimized. These statistics represent only the incidents that have been both reported and classified as hate crimes.
On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, many of us awoke to the heartbreaking news of another attack, this time in Georgia. A gunman targeted three AAPI businesses, shooting and killing eight people, including six AAPI women. While this incident is still under investigation, when put in the broader context of the history of anti-Asian racism in the U.S. as well as the increase in racially motivated crimes against the Asian American community this year, it’s clear that it’s long past time for all of us to stand up and speak out against the murder of innocent people at the hands of white supremacists. Racism and xenophobia should have no opportunity to flourish in this country unchecked.
Also, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the impact that opera and classical music have had in perpetuating racist depictions and stereotypes of Asian people. We know we haven’t always gotten it right and, therefore, would like to apologize and take accountability for the ways in which we at Minnesota Opera have contributed to this ignominious legacy. We take this opportunity to publicly re-commit ourselves to the anti-racist and anti-oppressive values laid out in our Diversity Charter. We believe that it is our duty as a cultural and civic institution to uplift members of the AAPI community as we all fight against systemic injustice and racism, and to continue serving as place of refuge, healing and hope to all.
Finally, to our non-AAPI friends, in this moment, there are a number of ways in which you might consider joining us to take action. First, you can educate yourself, your family, and your friends on the issues facing Asian American communities today as well as the deep and insidious history of anti-Asian racism here in the U.S. You can donate money or time to the many organizations serving Asian American communities at both the local and national levels. Finally, you can amplify the voices of AAPI authors, journalists and activists on the front lines, you can support local AAPI businesses and artmakers like Theater Mu, and please use your own voice when you see incidents of anti-Asian hatred in person or online.
This comprehensive list of resources and organizations from the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans is a good place to start learning more about how we can all take action both locally and nationally.