Dear ACAS members, supporters, and allies,
Like many in the community, Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS) has been shaken by the ongoing developments in the disappearances and deaths of Selim Esen, Abdulbasir Faizi, Majeed Kayhan, Andrew Kinsman, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Tess Richey, and Alloura Wells. To their friends and families, we extend our deepest condolences.
Amidst the grief and uncertainty, we recognize that the need for a sense of community is stronger than ever. Please reach out to talk or if you would like further support. At ACAS, we offer support services for members of the East and Southeast Asian community. This February, ACAS staff met with Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, Mayor John Tory, and other LGBTQ+ community leaders for a frank discussion on how the Toronto Police interacts with our diverse communities. At the program level we are further exploring options for service users to strategize around concerns of personal and community safety. If you have suggestions on what ACAS can do to meet the needs of the East and Southeast Asian population in light of this tragedy, please do not hesitate to contact our Executive Director or the Board co-chairs.
With each act of violence in our community we remember the many people whose deaths and disappearances remain unsolved. One of these people is Cassandra Do, an ACAS community member who was found murdered inside her downtown Toronto home almost 15 years ago. Cassandra was a racialised trans woman and a sex worker.
While every tragedy presents its own set of facts, we believe that systemic barriers are directly connected to the persistent acts of violence committed against people from marginalised groups. ACAS remains committed to challenging the barriers found at the intersections of race, class, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, and religion. We must and we will continue to build community beyond the intersections that affect ACAS’ target East and Southeast Asian population.
The Board of Directors of ACAS