Pennsylvania Commissions Issue Joint Statement with Gov. Wolf in Remembrance of Lives Lost and Condemning Asian and Asian-American Hate

March 19, 2021

The Pennsylvania Commissions on African American, Latino, Asian Pacific American, Women and LGBTQ Affairs, overseen by Gov. Tom Wolf, released a joint statement today honoring the memory of eight murder victims in Atlanta and other Asian-Americans who have lost their lives in racially motivated acts of violence, as well as denounce the increase anti-Asian rhetoric and hatred.

“The attacks we saw in Georgia, as well as the anti-Asian rhetoric that has occurred since the beginning of the Pandemic is unacceptable and has no place in our Commonwealth.” Governor Tom Wolf said Thursday. “The Asian and Asian American community is a valued and valuable part of the Pennsylvania community. Any attack, whether verbal or physical, on an individual of Asian descent because of who they are is an attack on us all. This cannot and will not be tolerated. I encourage all Pennsylvanians to support your friends and neighbors in the Asian and Asian American community during this difficult time and demonstrate that those with hatred in their hearts constitute a significant minority of the population. Pennsylvania stands in support of the Asian and Asian American community.”

Stephanie Sun, Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs stated:  “The recent attacks against Americans of Asian descent in Atlanta and throughout the country are a painful reminder of the horrors of racism that continue to plague our nation. The long history of discriminatory laws, policies, and propaganda that have marginalized Asians into second-class citizens has erupted into increased incidents of violence and other hate crimes over the past year. It is far past time to break this never-ending cycle of discrimination and violence, and for all Americans to take a stand and declare that racism has no place in our country. We join Governor Wolf in denouncing these attacks against individuals of Asian descent, as well as racially motivated hate in all forms, and we ask all Pennsylvanians to stand in support of the Asian and Asian American community.”

Itha Cao, Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Commission for Women stated:  “My heart is heavier than it has been all year, and I mourn with the families of the eight people who were murdered this Tuesday in Atlanta.  Six of the eight victims were Asian women, who have been fetishized in this country as sexual objects, face gender and racial discrimination, and have been treated as foreign and less-than since the 1850s.  This was an act of hate, fueled by systemic racism, misogyny, and prejudice, NOT a “bad day”.

Jalila Parker, Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs stated:  “The Governor’s Advisory Commission on African Affairs extends prayers of comfort to the Asian community.  Unfortunately, the African American community knows to well the heartache and pain the Asian American Pacific Islander community is experiencing in this moment.  The time is now for us to harness our collective energy to combat covert and overt racism.  We need to continue the fight in solidarity for increased protections against hate crimes and pass legislation that protects our rights as citizens.  There is no place for hate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Teresa Donate, Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs stated:  “The Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs joins our fellow Pennsylvanians in condemning all nationwide acts of hatred against our Asian Pacific American brothers and sisters. These acts are evil, reprehensible and wrong.  Today we are all Asian Pacific American and we stand up, next and in front of our brothers and sisters.”

Anne Wakabayasi, LGTBQ+ Commission Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on LGTBQ+ Affairs stated:  “Members of the LGBTQIA community stand in solidarity with Asian Americans across the country. The heinous acts against the Asian community in Georgia were an act of domestic terrorism fueled by white supremacist rhetoric that should have no place in our society. We not only stand in solidarity with the AAPI members of our LGBTQIA community, we also send our sincere condolences to the AAPI community of Georgia and will continue to fight for our collective liberation.”

The Commissions will continue to work closely with community stakeholders and Governor Wolf to end these racially motivated acts of hatred against our Asian and Asian-American friends, neighbors, and loved ones.

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