[OPINION] Call To Action On Asian-American Violence

A Westporter writes:

I’m really concerned about the Asian population in Westport. I haven’t seen any kind of statement or anything else come out from the town or the schools in opposition to the tremendous increase in crimes targeting people of Asian descent.

According to a study by California State University, in 2020 alone hate crimes against them have risen by nearly 150 percent. The pandemic has exacerbated anti-Asian racism, but hate and violence towards the Asian community is not a new thing.

My daughter’s elementary school includes a large number of families of Asian descent. I want them to know that their suffering is shared by the larger community. That all of us are outraged, and their heartache, anger and fear is seen. That we are willing to stand united with them, and as a community we stand in opposition to the senseless killing and racism of all people.

I was hopeful that whoever organized the march in June protesting the murder of George Floyd would organize a vigil, a “stand in solidarity” or something. I wonder if there are other people like me who just don’t know how to get the conversation started.

I would be willing to help organize something, but I don’t know where to start. I’m relatively new to Westport, so any guidance would be appreciated. If you have any ideas, please email me: amyherrera@mindspring.com.

Town Hall flags fly at half staff, in memory of the victims of the Atlanta shooting. (Courtesy of Town of Westport/Facebook)

12 responses to “[OPINION] Call To Action On Asian-American Violence

  1. David A. Cleveland

    Are you talking about Asian in general or specifically Chinese?

  2. Sarin Cheung

    Thank you Amy and Dan for highlighting this. I’m looking forward to being a part of the solution.

  3. Théo Cohan Feldman

    Hi Amy! The ADL has some tools and strategies on their website that would be helpful for you to look at, go to http://www.adl.org

  4. Dan, thanks for publishing Amy’s letter. Amy, thanks for sending it to Dan. I’m happy to chat with you offline. Coincidentally, I posted my thoughts, stats, and ways to help support #StopAsianHate on my social media portals. No matter where someone is from, whatever he/she looks like, we are all one human race. Words MATTER. Leadership MATTERS.

    1) Since last March, the anti-Asian crimes have increased by 1900% in the U.S.
    2) Over 3,000 anti-Asian hate incidents were reported in over 47 states including the District of Columbia. Many have gone unreported.
    3) 7.3% incidents reported counted the most vulnerable Asians as the victims

    Together it is our responsibility to condemn hate (toward anyone) and create lasting social change. We are stronger together.

  5. Bobbie Herman

    We can thank the “former guy” for this. Calling Covid-19 “the China Virus” has led to these hate crimes.

  6. Thank you Amy for sending this message, and to Dan for posting it on his blog. According to the US Census, about 6% of Westport residents identify as Asian. That translates to about 1,600 people in Westport. I bet everyone in this town knows at least one fellow resident that is of Asian descent.

    It is easy for us to think that these incidents are not something that happens in our area, but I can assure you that the seeds of these violent acts are alive and well. From my daughter reporting that a classmate declared that he will not go near any Chinese people in school because of the Coronavirus, to the woman at the Stop & Shop parking lot yelling at me to “go back to my country”. When I clarified that I was born in the US, she answered back “well, you don’t look like it.” Apparently, if you are not white, then you don’t belong here. Tell that to the 131 million people in the US that do not identify as non-hispanic white.

    I echo Amy’s call to action. To some, that means marching downtown, signing a petition or donating money to a like-minded cause. But what about actions that can be done in small, everyday amounts? How about being the person that points out hurtful comments or unfairly broad assumptions about Asians (or any people of color)? How about being the parent/coach/relative/teacher that educates their child that makes a misguided joke about staying away from Asian classmates?

    Westport is a town of empathetic and common-sense people that know how generalizations lead to dangerous assumptions and sometimes violent action. When we tolerate these seemingly harmless generalizations, it allows the possibility that we could tolerate worse feelings and ultimately horrific actions that get splashed across our newsfeeds in recent years.

    • Sarin Cheung

      I agree with you. It’s the daily interaction that needs to be addressed not just one or two marches, although that will help start the conversation. What I’m struggling with now is the lack of acknowledgment and condemnation of hate by our public leaders in town and school. Posting a message on the town’s FB page is not enough, no offense, but no one really reads that. We need a town wide email to go to everyone, like public message about COVID updates.

  7. Mark Friedman

    Amy, thank you for writing this.
    I have been very upset by the surge in violence towards Asian Americans, and I stand-in solidarity with the AAPI community, both personally and as a member of Westport’s RTM, representing District Three.
    As mentioned above, the ADL does provide excellent resources on its website; here are some additional resources I have found:

    Addressing Anti-Asian Bias from Learning For Justice
    Anti-Hate Safety Resources from the Asian American Federation and the Center for Anti-Violence Education, in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese
    Reporting Hate Incidents from Stop AAPI Hate
    Anti-Racism Resources for the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Community from Cornell University’s Asian American Studies Program
    Talking to Kids About Discrimination from the American Psychological Association

  8. Our former leader , the Orange Haired One caused lots of the problems .. Calling it the China Virus ..

  9. AAPI hate existed way before Trump and Covid. Issues like Affirmative Action, workplace discrimination, misrepresentations in media have been long standing issues that our community has expressed but is always ignored.