Letter: Cape Civil Rights Workforce speaks out about racism in opposition to Asian Individuals, Pacific Islanders

As members of our school’s Civil Rights Team, we are especially angry and saddened by the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). We learned that hate crime in America’s 15 largest cities declined by a total of 7% from 2019 to 2020, while hate crime against the AAPI community increased by 149% over the same period (The Center for Hate and Extremism Research).

We know this is not a new problem. But the pandemic has sparked an increase in anti-Asian hatred and violence in America, including here in Maine.

As we have pondered together over the past few weeks, we are disgusted by these events. We are devastated that this violence is taking place and we are embarrassed that it is continuing in our state. We demand justice for victims of anti-Asian violence and equality for people of all races.

Our team explores the concept of intersectionality: how different parts of people’s identity affect their experiences in the world, especially when those identities overlap. As an example, we recognize that two out of three hate crimes against AAPI people are specifically directed against women.

We are writing this letter to condemn the racism and sexism that motivate these crimes. In our school and community, people of all racial and gender identities need to feel safe, welcome, and respected for who they are. We don’t understand the point of all this hatred. It has to stop now.

The Cape Elizabeth Middle School Civil Rights Team with the support of:

Stephanie Royal, CEMS CRT Consultant
CEMS school advisor

Jonathan R. Werner, CRT advisor to CEMS
CEMS Technology Integrator

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