woman standing with sign

HealthSpark Foundation Stands with the Asian American Community


Russell Johnson, President and CEO

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today to address the violent killings in Georgia on Tuesday. Though the motive for these attacks is still under investigation, violence in all forms, and in particular violence that appears to be racially motivated, is heartbreaking for the communities and families affected and profoundly troubling to any person that may live in greater fear as a result. HealthSpark Foundation stands in solidarity with the Asian American community and staunchly denounces hate speech and violence against Asian Americans.

These killings follow a year of increasing anti-Asian sentiment in our country as a result of consistent, persistent lies about a Chinese connection to the coronavirus. These lies have always been racially motivated- and the actions on Tuesday, as well as the increasing rise in violence and hate speech against Asian Americans over the last year, demonstrate the real, tragic impact that racism has in our communities.

Montgomery County has not been immune to challenges facing Asian Americans, in particular in the last year. We know that Asian American vaccine rates are far below what they should be and urge our elected officials and public health experts to address this disparity. I was encouraged to see the gathering of support last Saturday at the Philip Jaisohn Memorial Foundation vaccine clinic, where the Asian American Coalition for Healthcare (AACH) leaders from across our community gathered to bring greater awareness to this issue. The collaboration among Indian, Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Burmese and Coptic Christian leaders proved successful and is a testament to the collective efforts of the Asian American community in Montgomery County to build trust, increase access to services, and address community problems together. Their work is inspiring and truly impactful.

These moments are an opportunity to reassert our values and beliefs as well as commit ourselves to rooting out racism in all its forms. Words matter, though on days like today our words may feel insignificant. It is up to all of us to not only condemn hate speech and violence against any group, but to actively work towards peace and justice for all.