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On March 16, the Boxborough Select Board was shocked and saddened to learn of tragic violence in Atlanta, where a gunman shot and killed eight people. While investigators have not yet determined that the shootings were a hate crime, the Select Board is deeply concerned that six of the eight people killed were women of Asian descent. We join those mourning the deaths of Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Yong Ae Yue.
The heinous act did not occur in Boxborough; however, the fear it engenders in our residents is a reminder that we cannot rest in our commitment to be an inclusive and welcoming Town for all. While no physical violence has harmed Boxborough’s Asian citizens, the Town has had to condemn hateful anti-Asian verbal attacks directed at our Asian neighbors. The Board will diligently and forcefully continue to speak out against hate in all forms.
American attacks on Asians date back to the 1850s when many Chinese immigrants came to this country to work in mines and on railroad construction. For fear of losing jobs to those immigrants, many Americans directed their hatred at Asian laborers. Almost a century later, at the beginning of World War II, the United States relocated and incarcerated 120,000 U.S. citizens and legal immigrants of Japanese descent. And today, Asian hatred stems from a belief that China intentionally unleashed COVID-19 on the world. In our country and in our Town, we must continue to recognize and cut the roots of Asian hatred.
In 2010, more than 16% of Boxborough’s population identified themselves as Asians or Pacific Islanders. As residents, they have contributed greatly to Town boards and committees, and to organizations which support Boxborough. With gratitude, we recognize their significant contributions. In this time of fear and sadness, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and all our citizens gain strength through the Chinese Progressive Association, the Asian Community Development Corporation, and the Providence Youth Student Movement.
Right now, Asians in Boxborough need support from citizens of every race and national origin. The Select Board will continue to cherish diversity, speak out against hatred of all kinds, and work to make Boxborough an inclusive, welcoming, engaging community for all.