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March 25, 2021

We are grieving for those murdered in Atlanta

Dear Friends of Friends:

All of us at Friends of the Children grieve for the eight people recently murdered in Atlanta, six of whom were AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) women. Our heartfelt support goes out to the AAPI members of our Friends-SF family — children, families and staff — who are most directly impacted by the horrifying wave of violence sweeping our country.

As a social justice organization, we condemn this violence and the hateful rhetoric that spawns it. To paraphrase Dr. King, these attacks on our neighbors are attacks on all of us. Now is the time to stand beside all of our AAPI brothers and sisters, and to stand up to those who seek to exploit our perceived differences for their own benefit.1

We must also learn to listen to our brothers and sisters, to understand the history of anti-AAPI racism in our country, and to find a new way forward. Janice Mirikitani is a member of our Board of Directors, co-founder of GLIDE, survivor of a WWII internment camp, and the second Poet Laureate of San Francisco. Please listen to Janice’s voice, below.

In Solidarity,

Michael Rugen
SF Co-Founder & Executive Director
Friends of the Children - SF Bay Area

1Learn what you can do to combat anti-AAPI violence.

What Form of Madness

      You build walls to divide us. It’s madness.
We who served your table, cooked your food, harvested your sugarcane,
We have worked your canneries, picked your crops, built your railroads.
You claim war against trade agreements, blame us for deadly COVID imported
From China, call it the China virus, the “kung flu”,
      Incite more race hatred.
      It’s madness.
You beat us with baseball bats, jail us in concentration camps.
You kidnap our women and sell them as sex slaves, garment workers,
You tell us to go back where we belong, call us enemy aliens,
You rip our children from us and cage them like animals.
You lynch us, run us out of our homes.
You call us “jap, chink, slope, tonto, flip, spic, spook, raghead” to cage our humanity.
      The hate crimes rise.   Killings keep mounting.   Madness.
But we stand against your sickness—will stop the spread of your bigotry.
Look about you and see all our mouths.
We will not be driven out because of your hate,
We will tear down the walls of fear and build bridges of love.
We know all acts of compassion are victories in our war for justice.
We defy your lies, ignite the light of truth in our throats.
We stand up against violence. We are not alone.
We won’t dwell in your cages.
      It’s our form of madness.

By Janice Mirikitani
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