It can feel overwhelming these days for Asian Americans, as violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans seem to happen on a daily basis, and the Atlanta shooting rampage that took the lives of 8 people (6 of whom Asian women) is just one of the latest. While we condemn, grieve and express our outrage, we must be united in standing up against such heinous hate crimes and demanding justice for the victims who have done nothing wrong than going about their daily lives!
For too long, we Asian Americans seem invisible, fulfilling the “model minority” role that we did not sign up for but mainstream society seems to somehow expect of us anyway simply because culturally, we seem to fit such an honorable role: we work hard to achieve our respective dreams, as dry cleaners, restauranteurs, professors, engineers or NASA scientists; when we experience discrimination and injustice, we tend to keep to ourselves and even blame ourselves for our own misfortunes. Many of us are guilty of being this silent “model minority”. This must stop! Unless we speak up and demand equal protections under the law, the tragedies we witness all too often will reoccur. If anything positive should come out of Atlanta, the massacre should serve as a rallying cry for Asian Americans to stand up and fight, as a united front, to end the continuing injustice and violence against us.
Anyone who is even paying scant attention to American society will know that the plight facing Asian Americans, or African Americans for that matter, is hardly unique. Hate crimes against other races/ethnic groups, vulnerable groups, or socially/economically disadvantaged groups have occurred throughout our history and across geographies. We must recognize that such crimes are, fundamentally, violations of human rights. No law-abiding American deserves to live in fear of being in harm’s way for simply being who they are as a group. Unless all of us in America unite and fight such hate crimes wherever they occur and in whatever form they take, we will be condemned to experience such tragedies again! We must say no to the perpetrators and would-be perpetrators, who seem to serve us a rotating flavor of hate crimes, by prosecuting and punishing them to the fullest under law!
As we are so often reminded, we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice! We call on all Americans, regardless of race, gender, religion, political affiliation, to stand up and take immediate actions! Call your congressmen, and urge those around you to call, and demand that the Congress hold hearings on the Atlanta massacre and immediately strengthen hate crime laws to punish perpetrators and deter future acts of violence. Call your local elected officials and demand that they condemn violence and hate crimes of any kind and strengthen law enforcements and protection of Asian Americans, especially the most vulnerable parts of our community. President Biden already started urging Congress to “swiftly pass” hate crime legislation to address the rise in violence against Asian Americans. Let’s join our President in pushing through these sweeping legislations and bringing real changes!
Domestic issues often do not exist in a vacuum, and racially motivated hate crimes in America are no exception. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the alarming spikes of hate crimes against Asian Americans take place against the backdrop of the global pandemic. Blaming everything on China for their own failings and incompetence became the rhetoric of choice for many of our elected officials and media pundits. Words have consequences, as we often say, and those irresponsible words, many times baseless and racially charged, unfortunately, have led to tragic and deadly consequences for our fellow citizens. As lawabiding and tax paying Americans, we must hold our elected officials and media pundits accountable for their words and actions! We must not let them get away with spreading misinformation or “alternative facts” and fanning flames of hatred. Call them out whenever that happens and take your vote or dollars elsewhere if they refuse to stop. Together, we can stop the hate, whatever form it takes, at its source.
We urge all Americans to take actions today and turn the recent tragedies into concrete changes! Together we can bring justice and respect for human dignity for all! Together, we can create a more perfect future for all Americans!
Stay safe and keep on fighting!
BFSU America China Culture Exchange
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