With rage, love, and solidarity, we invite our Seattle/King County community to remember the lives of the massage workers and clients who were murdered in Atlanta on Tuesday, 3/16/21 in an act of gendered colonial violence and white supremacy. We are honored to hold this vigil on the ancestral lands of the Duwamish and Coast Salish peoples.
🌸 Details 🌸
🌷 Monday 3/22/21, 9:30AM PST, Hing Hay Park
🌷 Food & beverages, station to send cards to Atlanta and fold cranes
🌷 Program will be presented in English, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. Featured speakers: Massage Parlor Outreach Project (MPOP), Coalition for Rights & Safety for People in the Sex Trade, PARISOL, API Chaya, & UTOPIA
🌷 Please follow COVID safety guidelines: mask up, physical distance, sanitizer
🌷 Bring candles, flowers, small gifts for local massage workers, cards to send to Atlanta, or other memorabilia.
🌷 Be prepared for rain; we will have some canopies and seats for elders and disabled folks
As we gather to remember their lives, we also call on community to unequivocally support Seattle-area massage workers and sex workers, who deserve respect, protection, and power as beloved members of our community.
Let’s imagine a future where our massage parlor and immigrant Asian workers are safe from raids, criminalization, and terror from police and the crimmigration system. We are in solidarity with the movements for Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty. The forces that make Asian immigrant women workers unsafe are the same ones that murder and harm our Black, Indigenous, undocumented, and houseless siblings.
Donations to MPOP will go to support Seattle-area massage workers and MPOP’s outreach work, please add memo “MPOP”:
Cashapp (preferred): $mpopsea
Rest in Power:
Tan Xiaojie, 49
Feng Daoyou, 44
Park Soon Chung, 74
Hyun Jung Grant, 51
Yue Yong Ae, 63
Kim Suncha, 69
Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33
Paul Andre Michels, 54
(copied from Facebook event page)
Below is the text of the speech Emi gave on behalf of the Coalition for Rights & Safety for People in the Sex Trade at the Seattle vigil on March 22, 2021.
Thank you everyone for gathering here this morning to honor people who have lost their lives in our current climate of hate and violence toward women, Asian people as well as other Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, immigrants, and people whose work is undervalued and disrespected.
My name is Emi and I am from the Coalition for Rights & Safety for People in the Sex Trade, which has been part of the Massage Parlor Outreach Project from very beginning. I want to make it clear that not all migrant Asian women working at massage parlor do sex work, so massage workers should not be equated with sex workers. But the way the society vilifies, criminalizes, and targets sex workers for violence, as well as those that target women, Asians, immigrants, and poor people, affect all Asian massage workers regardless of whether or not they personally perform any sex work, as the recent violence in Georgia has shown, so we support and advocate for them all the same.
In February 2019, Seattle Police Department conducted the largest massage parlor raids in our city’s history. They shut down about a dozen Asian massage parlors and claimed to have “rescued” 26 Asian women. But the reality is that raids deprive women of their livelihood, displaces them, confiscates their cash savings and important documents, and abandons them. No manager or owner of the establishments have been charged with trafficking, the businesses reopened within weeks under a new management. The women would get on WeChat, a Chinese social media app, to find another massage parlor to work for in order to regain what they had lost in the police raid.
This is the exact same thing that happens to street-based sex workers when the police sweeps the street, or to internet-based escorts when they shut down Backpage: it displaces us and harms us without offering anything useful to improve our lives.
Some pro-police groups are capitalizing on the recent tragedy to increase surveillance and policing of our communities, but that is not the solution. We are indebted to the analysis of the Black-led uprising and join their call to divest from policing and to invest in community-led safety programs such as the Massage Parlor Outreach Project to protect our Asian sisters as well as all people experiencing violence. Thank you for joining our vigil today, and please connect with the Massage Parlor Outreach Project to find out how you can be part of the solution.