We received the news on the Atlanta shootings with sadness and anger. The history of devalued Asian American lives extends back centuries and must end, in concert with many other movements addressing discrimination and systemic racism in our society.
Systemic racism results in the needless loss of lives and opportunities. The tragedy in Atlanta and thousands of hate crimes against Asian Americans and Canadians in the past years remind us again much remains to be done. In the US, while overall hate crimes fell by 7%, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 149% in the 15 largest cities . In Canada, Vancouver has seen a 717% increase in anti-Asian attacks, with 30% being assaults across the country . In both countries, attacks are targeting women or the elderly, with many causing serious harm or fatality.
Asian Americans and Canadians are many groups of people with diverse and unique cultural backgrounds and life experiences that enrich our society. To bring that value to the forefront, we have formed the Asian Cohort for Alzheimer’s Disease Study team and committed ourselves to addressing one crucial health disparity. We call attention to the challenges these many communities face. We seek the appropriate and equitable representation of Asian Americans and Canadians in research by engaging these communities with culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach strategies. This is but one step on the long path to eliminating systemic racism.