Standing in solidarity with our Asian American communities

It is in times of trial that we strengthen our bond and unity.

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Luul Boru

Since March of last year, hate crimes and instances against Asian American communities have been on the rise. This hate was fueled by COVID-19 cases reaching the United States, with President Donald Trump’s first tweets on the virus in mid-March, in which he called it a “Chinese virus,” not helping either. These actions then slowly fueled and perpetuated racism and hate crimes against Asian communities. As a result of that first tweet, social media platforms exploded, using racial hashtags such as #ChineseVirus or terms like “Wuhan virus” and “Kung flu.” The spike in racially motivated hate speech was followed by physical assaults against and even the murders of some Asian Americans across the United States.

On March 16, we witnessed horrific attacks against people of Asian descent at three different spas in Atlanta, Georgia, carried out by a white male who left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women. Our country’s various communities were in shock at the rampage the killer went on. The fear this disturbing event has instilled in our communities makes me sick to my stomach to even think about. The lives of humans are not something to be played with, and taking them should never be excused by personal indecency or a “sex addiction,” as the gunman said in defense of his rampage. Excuses are not welcome when the situation deals with people’s lives regardless. We say to our Asian communities: We see you, we hear you, and we stand by you.

It is very sickening and heartbreaking to see acts of violence and hate crimes being carried out against people, just so that people have someone or something to blame for the misfortunes brought on by COVID-19. Having ill feelings toward a particular community gives no answer to our problems. What I think gives us answers to and opportunities for is learning about people and welcoming everyone with their differences — not using a particular group as a scapegoat whenever life becomes difficult or a problem arises.

What makes America the country it is today is the diversity of its people. We are one with our different creeds, colors, shapes and forms. We are all humans, so we hurt when part of our community is in pain. We show up and stand up for justice when communities are wronged. Our unity in times of trials and difficulties brings out our good heart and reminds us of our kind nature.

I think one way to get over this hate for specific groups of people is to get to know those people and have the uncomfortable conversations we would not otherwise have. Shying ignorantly away from approaching the topic of race is unfruitful and leaves us in darkness. It is time we stood up for justice because something truly unjust happened to our next-door neighbors, our classmates, our fellow grocery store patrons. We need to stand up for people because we know and feel that we have been wronged. I believe if we don’t stand up for justice regardless of color, shape or religion, our hearts will die and our morals should be questioned. We let piranhas come and prey upon people while the rest of humanity sits in the corners and watches with silence.

We hear you. We see you. We stand by you. We are a generation who seeks knowledge and is willing to break free from the cycles of silence that kept our mouths shut when we saw something wrong because it did not happen to us. But it did happen to us, because it happened to one of our communities — and what hurts our communities hurts the rest of us too. It is time we acknowledge that we are all humans, and that in our unity, we become stronger. We can stand against predators. But separated, the predators take advantage of our weakness and prey on us. So we won’t allow it. We are with you and stand by you. We will say it loud that you are wronged and we seek justice for you.