How I grappled with the racism towards the Asian Americans Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
The violence towards Asian Americans during the coronavirus amplifies the long-standing illness of white supremacy. Scrolling through Instagram and reading about the Atlanta spa shooting―eight dead, which included: Delaina Ashley Yuan, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Yue, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng.― was devastating that six of the eight individuals were Asian women.
On March 13th, the community members gathered in solidarity with the AAPI community to condemn the recent spike in anti-Asian violence nationwide, which included the assault of Noriko Nasu― a Japanese language high school teacher― last month in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (South Seattle Emerald). Hate against humanity, especially as a Black American, is destined to promote emotion.
Black and Asian American solidarity is not new to American history. In fact, the term Asian American was inspired by the self-determination of Blacks during the Black Power Movement in 1968 Berkeley, CA. Growing-up in Seattle, I formed bonds with classmates of Vietnamese, Filipino, and Canbodian heritage. I recall being a freshman at Garfield High School, where I served in student government.
At the time, I was the only Black class officer for the freshmen class- but I wasn’t the only person of color. I had (for the sake of privacy, let’s call her “Meg”) Meg, an Asian sista who lived in South Seattle. She was involved in several activities outside of student government, but she loved Key-Club (also known as Kiwanis “to build” Club) which served the community through different fundraisers to promote leadership skills. Similar to myself, Meg was an overachiever super determined to go to college. She also was a Running Start student, so I started to see Meg less and less. However, we both ended up at the University of Washington (UW)! In fact, we took a course together our first quarter at the UW.
When I heard about the Atlanta spa shooting, I reached out to Meg first. I recalled the feeling I got when I heard about the murder of Breonna Taylor and imagined my grief was similar to Megs, and it was. She was trying to complete our Winter quarter finals and distract herself from watching the news. Even in her grief she asked “how are you doing?”. When ending our conversation she thanked me for even reaching out to see how this national event impacted her life directly.
In closing, our communities (Black, Indeigenous, AAPI, and others) are directly impacted by violence because of white rage. Please know that the hate towards the AAPI community is racism in another form. Their pain is valid, their trauma is real! Let’s empower our AAPI communities to defy stereotypes that pin us against each other.
I dedicate this piece to “Meg”.
Source: South Seattle Emerald | Amplifying the Authentic Narratives of South Seattle