As members of our school’s Civil Rights Team, we feel particularly angry and sad to learn about the surge in hate crimes directed toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). We have learned that while hate crime in America’s 15 largest cities decreased by 7% overall from 2019 to 2020, hate crimes directed toward the AAPI community increased during that same period by 149% (The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism).

We know this is not a new problem. But the pandemic has brought on a surge of anti-Asian hate and violence in America, including here in Maine.

As we have reflected together in recent weeks, we find we are disgusted by these events. We are devastated that this violence is happening and embarrassed that, even in our state, it continues. We call for justice for victims of anti-Asian violence and equality for people of all races.

Our team is exploring the concept of intersectionality: how different parts of people’s identities affect their experiences in the world, especially when these identities overlap. As one example, we recognize that two out of three hate crimes against AAPI people are directed specifically at women.

We write this letter to condemn the racism and sexism that motivates these crimes. In our school and in our community, people of all racial and gender identities must feel safe, welcome and respected for who they are. We do not understand the point of all this hate. It must stop now.

The Cape Elizabeth Middle School Civil Rights Team with the support of:

Stephanie Royal, CEMS CRT Advisor 
CEMS School Counselor

Jonathan R. Werner, CEMS CRT Advisor
CEMS Technology Integrator