I started noticing a change on my daily walks a couple months ago: a portrait of an Asian-American woman with the words “We belong here” written on them. These vibrant portraits, created by artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, are especially poignant amidst an environment of increased violence against AAPI people.
The portrayal of women in the artwork also challenges stereotypes of AAPI women as timid and docile – stereotypes with sexist and misogynistic undertones. These stereotypes, in addition to deeply rooted and new forms of systematic racism and xenophobia lead to targeted gender-based anti-Asian violence. This has been especially evident over the past year and a half, with AAPI women reporting hate incidents 2.3 times more often than men.
It is also the combination of racism, sexism, and xenophobia that led to devastating murder of 8 AAPI people in Atlanta, Georgia in March, 6 of whom were women. It is a reminder that anti-Asian violence is a reproductive justice issue as it robs AAPI people of the freedom and safety to make the best choices for themselves, families, and communities.
Artwork like Phingbodhipakkiya’s is important not just for changing narratives about AAPI communities, but also for changing narratives around reproductive justice. The reproductive justice movement that was coined and founded by Black women also has a long history of active Asian American leaders. I recently spoke with one long-time activist, Eveline Shen, Executive Director of Forward Together, formerly known as Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice and Asian and Pacific Islanders for Reproductive Health, about how Asian Americans have a role in the reproductive justice movement, and how philanthropy can support the movement.
Read the full article about Asian-Americans and reproductive justice by Stephanie Peng at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.