No, I’m not ok.
A 65 year old Asian woman was brutally attacked in the middle of the day while going to church. No, I’m not ok.
Several bystanders watched this woman get beaten and did nothing. No, I’m not ok.
Advocacy groups have identified 3,795 incidents of hate nationwide that have been reported from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, 517 of which took place in New York, and 68% of which targeted women. No, I’m not ok.
It’s hard to concentrate — worrying about your loved ones and friends walking down the street. It’s hard to pick up the same cardboard sign, week after week, begging your city to stop AAPI hate.
It’s hard to hear the same condolences from elected leaders, seeing no one who looks like you among them, and wonder how long they’ll focus on this before moving on.
No, I’m not ok. And I know so many of you are not okay either.
I wish, more than anything, that there was a clear solution to end the violence. I wish I could point to a singular policy, or villain that was to blame. We can and should check in on our friends, donate to organizations who have long been doing the work to uplift AAPI communities, and find ways to support our neighbors right now. But the truth is that we’re talking about changing cultural perception, a perception that has been perpetuated since our founding as a nation and has remained deeply ingrained in our social systems.
This will never end until we fundamentally change how we invest in, elevate, and respond to the needs of the Asian American community in New York City and our country at large. It requires all of us — regardless of your ethnicity, race, or zip code, to commit to actively stand up against Asian American hate. Intervening when someone is attacked. Voting to invest in direct social services. Fighting for more representation in every legislative hall and chamber of government.
This hate will never end until we can look back at our collective history and recognize the generations of mistreatment, abuse, anti-immigrant, anti-Asian, anti-Black, anti-Brown, anti-Woman sentiments that our country was founded on. It will never end until we can come together in open, intergenerational and interracial diagolue about our history and the future we want to create.
Before my grandfather died, he held my infant son and told me proudly that he looked like a Shimamura. He was happy, comparing my son’s Asian features to my father’s, to his, and to my great grandfather’s. I was too.
But now it’s those same features that I fear. We must stop this hate, and fight for the dignity and humanity of every single person. This cannot wait. I’m not ok.