As I struggled to find words for my sorrow, Lisa's email arrived. She said it better than I could. I would like to share her words with you. (I added the photos.)
This is a guest post from Annalisa Gibbs, Founder and CEO of Eden’s Farm, Pittsburgh. If you would like to find out more about Eden's Farm, please see link below.
Dear Friends, I write to you now after about thirty-six hours since the shooting in Atlanta. I am of Asian descent. I am Thai American. I stumble here now, trying to be coherent in expressing my thoughts. There is so much. So much to unpack. So much historical boxes that had opened for me yesterday.
Since I was child, there were countless times where the phrase, “Me love you long time,” was spoken or catcalled to me. These men thought that they captured the perfect phrase that would entice me to pay them some attention. Imagine being a young teen and was told that I was a, “Happy Ending.”
I grew up in Thailand, a place where foreign men visited for the sex tourism. Where women in poverty, lacking true choice are being exploited and trafficked.
Asian women have historically been fetishized and objectified ever since I can remember. We are viewed as passive and submissive. We are talked over, devalued and our contributions not appreciated. I say this to lay an understanding. Eight people shot yesterday, six of which are Asian women.
The shooter said he has a sexual addiction. In order to eliminate his sexual addiction he had to murder these women. He had made a correlation of three factors, Asians, massage parlors and commercial sex.
I do not know if these women are victims of commercial sexual exploitation or if they were being trafficked or simply surviving. What I do know is that they had vulnerabilities.
Race, gender, past trauma and economical inequity are all contributing factors
that can lead to sexual exploitation.
What I do know is that they were mothers, daughters and sisters. They meant something, if not the world, to their friends and families. They had passions and ambitions to thrive like anyone else.
They had fundamental human rights that were shot and hated away.
I stand with my Asian and Asian American brothers and sisters. I will do what I can to provide assistance and resources to our community. I will speak up.
The silence is over.
with much love, Annalisa Gibbs Founder and CEO of Eden’s Farm
P.S. Last month I had hosted a webinar to honor Asian Americans in Anti Trafficking work. This was because of the lack of necessary representation of Asians in the movement. In the webinar we address in great depth how Asian women are viewed. We address the world of massage parlors and how they operate. I encourage you to watch this webinar.
Our Mission: We exist to provide a safe place, trauma-informed holistic care and resources to survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. We strive to provide education, through outreach efforts and work towards building solid partnerships with existing organizations in order to create a cohesive united community.
We empower individuals to exit the commercial sex industry, and offer aftercare to those that have been trafficked, by building relationships and providing them with resources and opportunities to thrive.
We areA Pittsburgh-based organization working towards providing emergency shelter and supportive housing for adult survivors.
Our long term goal is to also provide a solution to housing and restorative care for domestic minor sex trafficked girls.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO https://www.edensfarm.org/
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