June 05 2020

Flushing Community Stands in Unity

Asian, Black & Latino Leaders Condemn Killing of George Floyd, Call for Unity based on Principles of Human Rights, Justice & Accountability

By Lewis Latimer, Patch Mayor

https://patch.com/new-york/flushing-murray-hill/flushing-community-stands-unity

The Flushing community condemns the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota, and other recent murders by police and vigilantes including Tony McDade in Florida, Finan Berhe in Maryland, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and Manuel Ellis in Tacoma, Washington. These names only scratch the surface of a seemingly endless list of violence on Black lives. Exacerbated by the current pandemic, Black communities have already been experiencing COVID-19 related deaths at three times the average rate, further evidencing the distinct circumstances and structural inequities along racial lines.

In Flushing, a largely immigrant community with the highest concentration of Asian Americans in the City, the racialization of the virus has led to a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes and decimated minority and immigrant owned small businesses. Every week, long lines to La Jornada's food pantry now wind passed permanently shuttered mom-and-pop stores and restaurants.

As Flushing residents and small business owners continue to care for and support each other, we cannot allow the crisis brought on by the pandemic to cause us to lose sight of George Floyd's life, the layers of circumstances surrounding his death, and the persistent systems of violence and structural oppression against Black and African people spanning 400 years of European colonization of the Americas. We are committed to honoring the wishes of George Floyd's family and amplifying their vision of justice.

We also appeal to Asian American communities to reexamine our role when participating in the policing of other communities of color, including how we hold ourselves and each other accountable, including former Officer Peter Liang firing a gun that killed Akai Gurley in Brooklyn in 2014, and most recently, former Officer Thu Thao's role in the death of George Floyd.

For too long, Asian Americans have been propped up as foils to undermine the struggles of Black liberation, from the coining of the term model minority in 1966 to undermine the Civil Rights movement, and more recently with conservative Asian Amerians being used as a tool in an effort to dismantle affirmative action.

Structural racism and the assault on BIPOC communities is not isolated and takes many forms within the criminal justice system, housing, healthcare system, education and the school to prison pipeline, militarization of police on a global and local level, and the harassment and devaluation of Black life.

Asian American communities have greatly benefited from Black freedom struggles, and our shared struggles against oppression and the fate of our communities are inextricably linked: in our struggles for social justice, none can reach the finish line unless we finish together.

Participation in anti-Blackness requires action:

1. Support BLM organizations, calls for actions, petitions, and contribute:

SIGN PETITIONS, DONATE, CALL AND EMAIL TO DEMAND JUSTICE, AND SHARE (https://bit.ly/2XBRsUZ)

2. Defund the NYPD and shift $1B toward human services

3. Pass #SaferNYAct bills

End Police Secrecy – Repeal 50-a (A2513-O'Donnell/S3695-Bailey)
The Police Statistics & Transparency (STAT) Act (A5472A-Lentol/S1830B-Hoylman)
Special Prosecutor Legislation to strengthen and codify Executive Order 147 (A1601A-Perry/S2574A-Bailey)
End Marijuana Prohibition and Invest in Communities - Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act (A1617B-Peoples-Stokes/S1527B-Krueger)
Reduce unnecessary arrests for non-criminal offenses (A4053-Aubry/S2571-Bailey)

4. VOTE!

As our communities work to recover from COVID-19 and the killing of George Floyd, we reject going back to the normal where Black Lives continue to matter less.

Black Lives Matter.

Signed,

Assemblyman Ron Kim, the Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding at Queens College, Concerned African-Americans of Flushing, Day Starr, Evergreen Chou, Farah Chandu, Gloria Lum, Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Green Earth Urban Gardens, Howard Wong, Joe DiStefano, John Choe, Leonard Galit, Linda Shirley, Korean American Community Empowerment Council, Korean American Family Service Center, Korean American Sanctuary Church Network, La Jornada, Lily Li, Marcia Hu, Maureen Regan, Melquiades Gagarin, Minkwon Center for Community Action, Murray Hill Merchants Association, Nelson Mar, Peace & Social Action Committee of Flushing Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Peter Zhao, Shweta Parmar, Soh Young Lee-Segredo, YWCA of Queens, Union Street Small Business Association.