Maplewood Township Committee speaks out against anti-AAPI racism

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Following the March 16 shootings in Atlanta, Ga., that left eight people dead — including six Asian women — the Maplewood Township Committee released a statement on March 19 condemning anti-Asian racism and calling for residents to speak out against hate.

“The events in Atlanta earlier this week are a sickening and painful reminder that racism towards the Asian American Pacific Islander community is not new,” the statement read. “While Anti-Asian rhetoric certainly did not start with the pandemic, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, scapegoating our Asian brothers and sisters became a convenient excuse for making hate crimes and especially unspeakable acts of violence targeting the Asian community at-large even more pervasive.

“Sadly, these violent attacks have largely been ignored and even excused — ‘Oh, he was having a bad day.’ Sound familiar? Targeting and blaming an entire demographic for a pandemic is racist and it needs to stop now,” continued the statement, signed by Mayor Frank McGehee, Deputy Mayor Dean Dafis, and Committee members Nancy Adams, Vic DeLuca and Greg Lembrich. “As a community we must all do our part to speak out against racism and stand up to hate wherever it exists. For our Asian brothers and sisters that begins with acknowledgement and changing the overall tone of our collective conversation. And even while that may not feel like enough, change starts with each and every one of us.

“Our heart goes out to the Asian American Pacific Islander community here in Maplewood and beyond. Whether you are a student, a small business owner, a resident or a visitor — you matter and are an essential part of our community. We stand in solidarity with you,” the statement concluded.

Photos Courtesy of Dean Dafis // Residents came together March 21 at the Maplecrest Park Gazebo to protest recent anti-Asian racism in the nation and to mourn the eight lives lost in the March 16 shooting in Atlanta, Ga.