When I found out about the anti-Asian shooting yesterday in Atlanta Spas that left 8 dead I felt a surge of anger and frustration that, if I’m being honest, I am still figuring out how to direct in a way that is productive.
Later this afternoon I found out about Compassionate Oakland, a community formed in response to the surge of anti-Asian attacks in the Bay Area, that offers chaperoning services to anyone in Oakland’s Chinatown that feels unsafe. I cried. Discovering the existence of communities like this hit me like a bag of bricks because while I appreciate that such a community exists it also pains me deeply to know that it needs to exist at all.
In March of last year, the FBI warned of a potential surge in crimes against Asians amid the coronavirus.
Almost a year later, Anti-Asian hate crimes have risen dramatically — particularly in major US cities.
I’m really worried about my family, my friends and their families, my colleagues and their families.
I’m really worried about humanity.
Here’s what I know:
- Silence doesn’t work. Nothing does a better job of preserving the most heinous aspects of our world than choosing to be silent in the face of them.
- The culture we live in is an evolving organism. What we choose to do and say on a daily basis shapes our culture and in the long run makes the difference between whether we live in a harmonious society or one that is filled with hatred and contention.
- Issues that are harmful to society do not get addressed unless they are a regular part of the conversation.
If you’re like me and feel frustrated by the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and are figuring out what to do, educating your self about what’s going on and speaking to your friends, family, colleagues, and other peers about what’s going on is a great way to start.
Here’s the bottom line:
When you choose to make an issue known and to let others know that it’s not okay — that matters.
When you choose to not bring up an issue that you know is important — that matters, too.
Will one conversation lead to a fundamental shift in society’s dialogue about key issues? No, and it’s important not to have any illusions about that.
But having the tenacity to show up every day and to make sure important issues remain surfaced until they are addressed does eventually give way to the kind of large-scale awareness, compassion, and dialogue needed for things to get better.
So start talking.