FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC—On Saturday, a gunman who was found to have posted racist writings shot and killed three Black Americans in Jacksonville, Florida near Edward Waters University, a historically Black college. The victims whose lives were senselessly taken that day were Angela Michelle Carr, 52; A.J. Laguerre, 19; and Jerrald Gallion, 29. In stark contrast, the day also marked an important anniversary for racial justice—60 years since the first March on Washington where approximately 250,000 Americans led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched against segregation, anti-Blackness, and white supremacy.
The Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) joined The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC (Advancing Justice-AAJC), and several other Asian American-led organizations in attending the 60th Anniversary March on Washington to honor the ways in which the Black-led Civil Rights Movement paved the way for civil rights victories for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. As AASF joined in the recommitments of the March, they also join in expressing the collective grief experienced by Jacksonville and Black Americans across the country.
“On the same day in America, we witnessed a beautiful demonstration of racial unity in the 60th Anniversary March on Washington and an ugly demonstration of racialized hate in the Jacksonville shootings. We see no greater evidence than this that the work of racial justice and reconciliation in our country is far from over,” said Gisela Perez Kusakawa, AASF Executive Director & Civil Rights Attorney. “AASF was founded due to the rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes since the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating impacts of discriminatory policies on the Asian American scholar community. On Saturday, I marched alongside advocates of all races and ethnicities to the theme, ‘A Continuation, Not a Commemoration,’ to recommit to the call for civil rights and racial justice espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders. Whether white supremacy shows up in bigotry-driven hate crimes or in racist governmental policies and practices, it must be named and rooted out for the livelihood and well-being of us all.”
Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) is a national non-profit that promotes academic belonging, openness, freedom, and equality for all. In response to heightened anti-Asian sentiments and profiling in the U.S., AASF has been a leading national voice fighting for the rights of Asian American and immigrant scientists, researchers, and scholars. AASF membership includes members from the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, in addition to past and current university presidents, provost, vice provosts, deans, associate deans and past and current department chairs.