FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 13, 2016
Contact: Mary Tablante;
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Calls for Support of LGBTQ Community following Orlando Tragedy; Urges Unity and Opposes Anti-Muslim Rhetoric and Policies
We are devastated by this weekend's attack at a gay Orlando nightclub and express our deepest sympathies to the Orlando and LGBTQ communities and the lives changed forever because of such a horrific hate crime.
The response to such hate must not be further hate or division. It is in times of tragedy that we must be united and support one another. We recognize and acknowledge our intersectional identities--as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, some of us belong to the LGBTQ community, the Muslim community, or the immigrant community, and many of us belong to more than one. Because of this, we must stand together stronger than ever.
As we continue to celebrate Pride Month, Ramadan, and Immigrant Heritage Month, we must not succumb to homophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, xenophobia or fear. As we mourn the lives lost and take time to heal, we reaffirm our commitment to opposing anti-Muslim hate. And most of all, we stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters--more determined than ever to end the bias, discrimination, and violence against them.
NCAPA’s members responded in the following ways:
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA): “For those of us who are LGBTQ and Muslim, we wait to see which of our identities we will be more fearful of disclosing in a world that questions our existence and intentions daily. We have found no contradiction in being both queer and Muslim, and reject the popular narrative that Islam or the Muslim community as a whole is homophobic and transphobic. We are proud to be both queer and Muslim, and cherish both of our communities … In the next few weeks, we must resist the inevitable, racist attempts to divide and conquer us. We ask that our allies refuse to use this moment to undermine the safety of people of color.”
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF): “While we mourn the victims of this tragedy, our hearts and prayers go out to all of those families who lost loved one’s in last night’s mass shootings. We believe no one should be targeted for his/her race, religion, beliefs or sexual orientation and we stand in solidarity with our LGBT brothers and sisters.” SALDEF also encouraged Sikh Americans in the community to donate blood. You can find a center in your local community where you can volunteer to donate blood or call 1.888.936.6283.
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT): “The collective racist, Islamophobic, and homophobic rhetoric and sentiment from our leaders, gone largely unchecked, have created an environment that rationalizes backlash and it cannot continue. We will continue to fight against policies that justify profiling and surveillance of our communities that ultimately make us all unsafe. Please utilize this list of LGBT Muslims who can speak to media.”
More statements from NCAPA groups and leaders:
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (AAJC)
Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA)
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF)
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA)
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)
OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates (OCA)
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
Gregory Cendana, Executive Director of Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA): “I'm outraged. I'm heartbroken. I'm reminded that we have far to go to in addressing the deep rooted hate, especially towards marginalized people, that continues to plague this country. We must push back the notion that this was about Islam. It's about growing conservatism across the world that is fueled by fear & racial & other demographic anxiety. We must resist the attempts to be divided & conquered. I'm not here for your homophobia or transphobia or Islamophobia or xenophobia. Not now or ever … We must demand elected officials & politicians go #BeyondThoughtsAndPrayers! Truth be told, though, laws & policy alone will not protect us or set us free.”
Kevin Nadal, Ph.D, President of Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA): “This was not a religious attack of terrorism, but an attack against LGBTQ people. This tragedy is the result of teaching hate instead of love. This tragedy is the result of systemic homophobia and transphobia (combined with racism and sexism). This tragedy is the result of creating second-class citizens and allowing complacent heterosexism and genderism to continue.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.
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