On behalf of the Filipino Mental Health Initiative of San Mateo County, we first want to acknowledge and honor the eight victims murdered, as a result of Anti-Asian racism and violence on March 16, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia. Our hearts go out to all the families and loved ones left behind and countless others who have been affected by these violent attacks.

While we represent a mental health initiative, we also come here as mothers, fathers, friends, sons, daughters, siblings, and concerned community members. We are exhausted and tired of hearing of the increased violence against our AAPI people and our broader BIPOC communities. Unfortunately, this is not new: this has been happening for centuries, here on stolen land, which can bring up a flurry of feelings ranging from powerlessness, grief, anger, and fear. We fear what could possibly happen to our parents or our elders while they’re at a grocery store—or fear threats to our families’ safety just going to a local park.

If you are experiencing these thoughts and feelings, you are not alone. Our hope is that you try to hold grace for yourself and others—to recognize that there is no right way to feel right now. In fact, we are experiencing collective trauma: racial trauma on both an individual and communal level. While this is a tremendously challenging time, this has opened up opportunities to be in solidarity with one another, heal together and strengthen community care practices. This could look like checking in with your loved ones or reaching out to attend a community healing space. Considering the emotional labor and potential trauma responses one may be experiencing, proactive healing could also mean simply taking a pause through restorative rest. This rest and recovery is essential to sustain forward movement.

It’s time we collectively break the silence, reclaim our voice, and work more intentionally on dismantling these systems of oppression built upon white supremacy that were designed to keep us quiet and cause harm—not only to our AAPI communities but to our brown and black siblings, as well. We see you. We feel you.

Racism has had a direct impact on our communities’ mental health and wellness, and will continue to do so if we do not raise our consciousness of the need for social and systemic change. FMHI-SMC is committed in solidarity with you all—our fellow AAPIs, BIPOC siblings, and allies to continue fighting against racism. In the name of justice and equity, we pledge our dedication to destigmatizing mental health and co-creating an anti-racist community.  

We would like to share some resources FMHI-SMC has curated that provides helpful information: https://tinyurl.com/healing4aapi. This is a live page which will be continuously updated and we invite you to help us add to this resource list, which includes how to report racism related violence or incidents and what legal supports are available, mental health/wellness resources, educational trainings and workshops like bystander interventions, and links to community spaces and events that promote solidarity in the fight to combat racism and violence against our AAPI folx, as well as our broader BIPOC communities.

Together we stand, together we fight, and together we heal and support each other!

In Kapwa,
Stephanie Balon & Christi Morales-Kumasawa
FMHI-SMC Co-chairs