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A Letter in Response to Recent Attacks

Photo by Mike Centioli

In response to the recent racist attack on Portland’s Eastbank Esplanade, Portland Japanese Garden has co-signed a letter alongside Oregon Rises Above Hate, a local organization working to defeat anti-Asian hate. To read the letter in its original format, click here.

“We felt we may have been killed.”
Recent victim of the July 2 racist attack on the Eastbank Esplanade

Our Asian American Native Hawai’ian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community, in solidarity with other communities of color, is horrified and angered by the racially-motivated violent attack against a Japanese family, including a 5 year old child, while they were enjoying Portland. Without the intervention of bystanders, there could have been a more horrifying outcome. This unprovoked attack continues a pattern of rising hostility and overt acts of violence against AANHPI, and it must be stopped.

We send our support, strength, and hope for healing to the family that was assaulted in our city, as the trauma of racist violence is particularly difficult to overcome. We send this to all the victims of racist hate in our city, who often bear this burden alone. There are too many of us.

We deserve to feel safe in our city. We deserve to feel welcome in our city. We stand together as communities of color for whom each slur, each attack, and each murder redouble our fear for our families, friends, and communities – people who are simply trying to live their lives. We deserve better than this.

We demand meaningful actions on historical injustice and erasure that feeds the current atmosphere of hate, which includes elevating the voices of AANHPI and communities of color to be seen and heard. Despite perpetual oppression and exploitation, our communities have contributed untold value to America and Oregon since the beginning and to this day. Our stories are American stories.

We call on you, as elected officials, to strengthen bias crime enforcement and data collection and to prioritize addressing racism in our community, using all the vast resources available to you. It is too easy to pretend that this racism is not as pervasive as it is.

We challenge you, as elected officials, to lead our community so it may remember its compassion and that we are all in this together. You must foster a change in our community, one that now disregards the welfare of its houseless and those with untreated mental illness while at the same time allowing racism to proliferate. There can be no real justice until then.

We pledge to work together as communities of color to seek changes that will stop these violations of our humanity and to never stay silent in the face of hate.

We are STRONGER than hate. In SOLIDARITY,

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education

Japanese American Museum of Oregon

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Q Center

All Hands Raised

Portland Chinatown Museum

Portland Police Bureau

Asian & Pacific Islander Advisory Council

NAACP Portland

Portland Japanese American Citizens League

Chinese Friendship Association of Portland

NAACP Vancouver

Portland Taiko

Portland Lee’s Association

Japan America Society of Oregon

Asian and Pacific Islander Community Coalition of Oregon

The Immigrant Story

Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon

Oregon Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

Basic Rights Oregon

Portland Japanese Garden

Minoru Yasui Tribute Project

Micronesian Islander Community Chinese American Citizens Alliance

Portland Lodge Coalition of Communities of Color