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Red Canary Song
RED CANARY SONG RESPONSE TO SHOOTINGS AT GOLD MASSAGE SPA, YOUNG’S ASIAN MASSAGE, & AROMA THERAPY SPA
Radical Healing from State and Community Violence
Mourning with Asian Massage Workers in the Americas
In the wake of the deaths of multiple Asian women massage workers in Georgia, we are sending radical love, care, and healing to all of our community members. We acknowledge the ongoing pain and grief from continued violent assaults on our Asian and Asian American, APIA community, which has been compounded by the alienation, isolation, and violence brought on by racist rhetoric and governmental neglect in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are concerned that many of those calling for action in this moment have and will continue to endorse violence towards Asian sex workers, massage workers, and survivors.
We reject the call for increased policing in response to this tragedy. The impulse to call for increased policing is even greater in the midst of rising anti-Asian violence calling for carceral punishment. We understand the pain that motivates our Asian and Asian-American community members’ call for increased policing, but we nevertheless stand against it. Policing has never been an effective response to violence because the police are agents of white supremacy. Policing has never kept sex workers or massage workers or immigrants safe. The criminalization and demonization of sex work has hurt and killed countless people–many at the hands of the police both directly and indirectly. Due to sexist racialized perceptions of Asian women, especially those engaged in vulnerable, low-wage work, Asian massage workers are harmed by the criminalization of sex work, regardless of whether they engage in it themselves.
Decriminalization of sex work is the only way that sex workers, massage workers, sex trafficking survivors, and anyone criminalized for their survival and/or livelihood will ever be safe.
Media coverage that examines the racist or sexist motivations of the killings as independent of each other fail to grasp the deeply connected histories of racialized violence and paternalistic rescue complexes that inform the violence experienced by Asian massage workers. We see the effort to invisibilize these women’s gender, labor, class, and immigration status as a refusal to reckon with the legacy of United States imperialism, and as a desire to collapse the identities of migrant Asian women, sex workers, massage workers, and trafficking survivors. The women who were killed faced specific racialized gendered violence for being Asian women and massage workers. Whether or not they were actually sex workers or self-identified under that label, we know that as massage workers, they were subjected to sexualized violence stemming from the hatred of sex workers, Asian women, working class people, and immigrants.
We are asking that the community stand in solidarity with us and all immigrant and migrant massage workers and sex workers. We highlight the following demands from NY-based massage parlor workers:
1. Pay attention to the life and work safety of massage and salon employees!
2. Asian massage workers and businesses come from the community and give back to the community!
3. The legal working rights of Asian massage workers must be protected!
4. The lives of Asian massage workers must not be lost in vain!
5. The legal profession of massage work should be respected and protected by US society!
Red Canary Song