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To the editor: We, of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, are writing to express both our sadness and anger at the recent acts of hatred and violence in Georgia against Asian Americans which resulted in the killing of eight people including six Asian American women. The latest violence towards the Asian community, and these women in particular, is fueled by the United States’ long history of white supremacy and gender-based violence.

These horrific killings have exposed another truth of the fundamental inequity of life for Asian American women in our society. Discrimination against Asian-Americans is rising both nationally and in Vermont. According to the VT APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) for Black Lives Matter Group, that since the onset of the pandemic, there have been 3,795 bias incidents reported in the U.S., representing hundred-fold rises in violent incidents against Asian Americans. In the last 20 years, Asians have been the fastest growing targets of hate crimes. They also reported that Asian-American women on average earn 67 cents on the dollar earned by white men. This compares to 83 cents for white women.

We grieve with the families of the women who lost their lives in Atlanta. Our country is at an inflection point. We can confront the centuries of systemic racism that affects all non-white people who live here or we can continue to be blind to our truth.

The Women's Legislative Caucus promotes legislation to advance the lives of all women in Vermont. Our priorities include pay equity, women in the correctional system, addressing health care disparities and preventing domestic and sexual violence against women.

We stand as allies to Asian Americans and commit to using this moment to educate ourselves and advance legislation that dismantles racism, promotes equity, protects women and invests in long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence and hate in our communities.

Sincerely,

Women’s Legislative Caucus co-chairs: Rep. Lynn Batchelor, Derby; Rep. Mollie Burke, Brattleboro; Rep. Sara Coffey, Guilford

Caucus members: Rep. Janet Ancel, Calais; Rep. Peter Anthony, Barre; Sen. Becca Balint, Windham County; Rep. Matt Birong, Vergennes; Rep. Alyssa Black, Essex; Rep. Tiff Bluemle, Burlington; Rep. Michelle Bos-Lun, Westminster; Rep. Erin Brady, Williston; Rep. Jana Brown, Richmond; Rep. Jessica Brumsted, Shelburne; Rep. Elizabeth Burrows, West Windsor; Rep. Scott Campbell, St. Johnsbury; Rep. Brian Cina, Burlington; Sen. Alison Clarkson, Windsor County; Rep. Mari Cordes, Lincoln; Rep. Kari Dolan, Waitsfield; Rep. David Durfee, Shaftsbury; Rep. Caleb Elder, Starksboro; Rep. Leslie Goldman, Rockingham; Sen. Ruth Hardy, Addison County; Rep. Mary Howard, Rutland; Rep. Kathleen James, Manchester; Rep. Stephanie Jerome, Brandon; Rep. John Killacky, South Burlington; Rep. Jim Masland, Thetford; Rep. Mike Mrowicki, Putney; Rep. Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, Burlington; Rep. Logan Nicoll, Ludlow; Rep. Kelly Pajala, Londonderry; Rep. Ann Pugh, South Burlington; Rep. Barbara Rachelson, Burlington; Rep. Robin Scheu, Middlebury; Rep. Amy Sheldon, Middlebury; Rep. Katherine Sims, Craftsbury; Rep. Trevor Squirrell, Underhill; Rep. Gabrielle Stebbins, Burlington; Rep. Tom Stevens, Waterbury; Rep. George Till, Jericho; Rep. Tristan Toleno, Brattleboro; Rep. Maida Townsend, South Burlington; Rep. Becca White, Hartford; Rep. Kurt While, Bethel; Rep. Theresa Wood, Waterbury