As President Donald Trump busily signs executive orders, more than 100 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations have come together to resist the new administration.
From national civic engagement organizations like 18MillionRising.org to student associations like East Coast Asian American Student Union to cross-movement groups like Asians for Black Lives San Diego, the coalition members issued a statement yesterday (January 24) that calls out and rejects the rhetoric that guided Trump’s candidacy, is typified by his cabinet nominees and embodied by his actions during his first six days in office.
“It is so dangerous for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders—and any other communities of color and marginalized communities—to engage with the Trump administration,” Johanna Puno Hester, national president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO said in an emailed press release about the statement of solidarity. “With an administration full of right-wingers and White supremacists whose statements and track records already have proven to be toxic for the new American majority and the planet as a whole, we need to lean on each other, collaborate and co-conspire in the dark times ahead.”
From the statement:
We stand at a critical juncture in world history. The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States represents a direct threat to millions of people’s safety and to the health of the planet. As Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) committed to equality, inclusion and justice, we pledge to resist any efforts by … Trump’s administration to target and exploit communities, to strip people of their fundamental rights and access to essential services, and to use rhetoric and policies that divide the American people and endanger the world….
Since his election, Mr. Trump has chosen known white nationalists, corporate moguls, religious zealots, climate deniers, hawkish ex-generals, anti-Islam spokespersons and anti-government crusaders to serve in his Administration. Right-wing extremists now dominate his party, which will control all three branches of the federal government and the majority of state legislatures, and are positioned to jeopardize the future of the Supreme Court for the next generation and beyond. Together this new realignment of forces seeks to turn back the clock on civil rights and environmental protections, to maximize corporate profits by privatizing the public sector, and to create a racially and culturally exclusive America.
This is not business as usual, and we will not engage in business-as-usual tactics and strategies.
The statement goes on to detail how the committed groups will proceed, and challenges AAPIs nationwide to join the resistance. The statement includes the following three points:
We will refuse to legitimate or normalize Mr. Trump’s Administration, which has already violated the core principles of American democracy by using explicit appeals to racial and religious bigotry, xenophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny to gain political power. We will reject ideas, statements and policies that strengthen the incoming Administration’s legitimacy, including divide-and-conquer tactics or strategies that position AAPIs as a racial wedge against other communities of color.
We will reject any attempts by the Trump Administration to use AAPIs to make a case for their legitimacy and diversity, and will not compromise our values and agency to gain a “seat at the table” in pursuit of narrow benefits. Nor will we conflate marginal visibility for genuine power and influence for our communities.
We will center and stand up for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community members who are likely to face increased levels of hate violence, targeting and policing. We will center and uplift the experiences and calls to action of undocumented immigrants, Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, refugees, women, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) community members. We will also support the organizing and resistance strategies of AAPI groups and our allies closest to the ground in local communities.
Read the full statement—including the list of signees—here.