April 7, 2021

We grieve the loss of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, who were murdered in Atlanta on March 16. To the families and communities of Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue, we send our love.

The Alliance for California Traditional Arts stands in solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the everyday fight against the violence of white supremacy, xenophobia, and misogyny, as we witness a surge in targeted violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities across the country. This kind of destruction is rooted in the dehumanizing function of white supremacy, male supremacy, and colonialism—an American legacy which is not new to our Asian and Pacific Islander friends and family who have endured extraordinary marginalization through U.S. policies like the Chinese Exclusion Act, the incarceration of Japanese Americans, and today, the hyper-normalization of racist and xenophobic comments and aggression toward Asian American communities during the pandemic. These spiritual and moral failures of America also present a critical opportunity in how we remember—and how we make the present and the future—together.

ACTA’s vision is for a culturally and racially equitable California and beyond. We aim to support a future for California in which the unique value of every culture is respected, sustained, and appreciated. We also know that one of the most critical ways to unlearn or heal from centuries of racial discrimination and oppression is through affirming, passing on, and practicing the rich cultural fabric of California’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities, now. These traditional arts and expressions are reflective of a community’s shared standards of beauty, values, experiences, and collective wisdom.

Over the next handful of weeks, we’ll be diving into the ACTA archive, sharing highlights that celebrate and affirm the creative contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander artists and cultural practitioners from across California on our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram). We believe that it is through these collective traditions that, together, we can mobilize and become catalysts for the transformative and restorative value of arts in healing a hurt society, and in building justice. We express our immense gratitude to the many artists already leading the way in this work.

Image: Journey to Topaz, linoblock print by Patricia Wakida printed on kozo paper the artist handmade in Japan, 2021 | wasabipress.com

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