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The Town of Winchester stands in solidarity with its Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in response to the recent attacks in Atlanta.We want to raise awareness of the dangerous historic increase in incidents and assaults directed against AAPI communities since the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, and to acknowledge the pain and fear that is so palpable right now.We also want to acknowledge that anti-Asian racism existed in the US for centuries before the pandemic, and that the historic power of white supremacy has created structural hierarchies which can divide communities. By continuing to treat the fight against white supremacy as separate battles, by isolating the AAPI community as experiencing different impacts, outside the discrimination faced by others, we allow the system to continue to divide us. We really have one common enemy – the racism that is embedded in our culture and society. By being in solidarity with each other, against all forms of racism, we are asserting our shared humanity and creating a space for healing.Last summer, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the flood of grief and protests across the country, the Town of Winchester penned a joint statement on racism and police brutality, reaffirming our core values and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and pledging to become a more anti-racist community.Since June, many actions have been taken: the Select Board committed to acknowledging the original Indigenous inhabitants of this land; communities of faith have discussed and reflected on the origins and impacts of racism and have created book groups to enhance awareness; local nonprofits have brought in social justice educators, and have offered community conversations on anti-racist practices.We appreciate these actions AND we must commit to continuing this work, including addressing anti-Asian racism and xenophobia.We must start by calling out anti-Asian language, including any references to COVID 19 that encourage blaming and shaming Asians. We must commit to learning and practicing allyship. We can also commit to learning about the long history of anti-Asian discrimination and oppression in the US, to challenging stereotypes, including the myth of the model minority, and to learning more about Asian cultures. We must report incidents of threats or harassment.As Town Manager Lisa Wong and Police Chief Daniel O’Connell noted in their recent statement, “Winchester is not immune” to incidents of bias-motivated conduct, and “many hate crimes against Asians can go unreported.” The web site STOP AAPI Hate (https://stopaapihate.org) has an easily accessible reporting mechanism in many languages and important recommendations for action: Now is the time to fully realize our responsibility as individuals and as a collective to address this epidemic of racism.The Winchester Select Board invites community leaders and town residents to join us as we move forward; together let’s imagine what is possible when we act in solidarity as collaborators against hate.Michael Bettencourt, ChairSusan Verdicchio, Vice ChairMariano GoluboffJacqueline A. WelchAmy Shapiro