To Our Clients, Alumni/ae, and Friends,
I am deeply disturbed by the shootings in Atlanta on March 16, 2021, and the horrific rise in racially motivated hate crimes over the last year targeting people of Asian descent. My heart breaks for the lives taken, and the families and friends left behind. It saddens me to have to reach out to all of you (once again) in the shadow of hate, and to know how many of you who are reading this are living in fear right now—fear for yourselves, your families, and for your elders. I am so sorry that this is happening.
As a firm, and as signatories to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Statement on Discrimination and the Coronavirus, we stand in support of the Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and stand against these senseless acts of violence, racism, discrimination, and hate.
These acts of hate are part of a long history of xenophobia and racism against the Asian and AAPI community in the United States; racism legitimized, reinforced, and punctuated by government actions like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Alien Exclusion Act of 1904, the Alien Land Law of 1913, and the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Unfortunately, the racism that lies at the heart of these discriminatory acts continues to be silently fueled by both conscious and unconscious biases prevalent in our society today, including the “model minority” myth and the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype.
For those looking to learn more about anti-Asian discrimination, we recommend visiting standagainsthatred.org, a website sponsored by Asian Americans Advancing Justice. The site offers visitors the ability to read first-hand accounts that bring home the impact of being targeted by race-based hatred, register for free bystander intervention training, document race-based harassment and assaults, and access other tools and services.
In the coming weeks and months, the firm will take concrete steps to raise awareness and facilitate engagement around preventing anti-Asian violence and hate, and harnessing the energy of the concentrated efforts we recommitted to as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. We will broaden the focus of our ongoing efforts related to education, pro bono legal services, charitable donations, and community action to include all diverse communities. As we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in May, we will elevate the voices and honor the stories of our AAPI colleagues, clients, alumni/ae, and friends.
We have a responsibility as individuals and as a firm to keep our communities free from hate, violence, and discrimination, including doing our part to stop discriminatory language and behavior whenever we hear or see it. Rather than stand aside or stay silent, we must seek out opportunities to stop anti-Asian bias and end this rise in acts of violence and hate.
As I have said before, MoFo will do more to fight racial injustice, and we will do it together. Please be on the lookout for future communications inviting you to join our efforts.
Larren M. Nashelsky, Chair
Morrison & Foerster LLP