Tag Archives: anti-Asian violence

Anti-Asian Prejudice: Another Westporter’s View

An “06880” reader writes:

The recent “06880” posts about racism against Asians in Westport prompt me to write about an incident involving my son and another middle schooler. This incident was awful for our family, and I had been determined to keep it private.

Today however, I’m hoping it will become something that informs and furthers a dialogue about racial intolerance.

Last year, beginning in the fall, my son was bullied on his bus by a boy 2 years older. The bullying included racial slurs like “I’m going to tear off your head and dumplings will fall out,” and playing loud, screeching music with Asian-sounding lyrics while telling my son it was the music of “his people.”

Prejudice against Asians in Westport is not as overt as this. But it is absolutely here.

I reached out to this boy’s mother. She made him write a letter of apology to my son. She also  insisted they come to our home to apologize in person. They came to our home, he apologized, and we were happy the matter was settled.

Months later I learned the bullying had not stopped.

In early March, the public schools announced they would close for 2 weeks due to COVID. The kids got onto the buses for what would become their last ride that year.

The same boy came up to my son and asked, “Do you know how COVID is transmitted?” Then he spit on my son. The kids who witnessed the spitting laughed.

To this day, no one from the school system has reached out to offer my son closure.

Again, I have no interest in escalating emotions, pointing fingers or organizing a witch hunt. I only write this to stress the importance of education in schools about racial intolerance. And, perhaps, bullying.

TEAM Westport Plans Asian-American Program Tonight

TEAM Westport — the town’s multicultural commission — says:

TEAM Westport and the partnership of the Interfaith Council, Westport Library and Westport Country Playhouse extend our staunchest solidarity with and heartfelt embrace of our town’s Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.

That solidarity and embrace are matched only by the depth of our outrage over the rising tide of AAPI racism and violence, capped by the unspeakable murders in Atlanta last week. Both the first selectman and superintendent of schools have issued statements for the town and school system.

Our work over the past few years has been focused on dismantling the centuries-old legacies of layered racism and supremacy which have led us to this current circumstance. As such, our involvement with both the advent of the Equity Study mentioned by the superintendent, and the ongoing antiracism conversations mentioned by the first selectman, make it clear that this should be a time for focused reflection with our AAPI community.

Please join us for these upcoming events today (Wednesday, March 24) and next Wednesday (March 31). We will hold space for our AAPI friends and community members for times of sharing and exploration regarding racism and its impact on each of us here in Westport and nationwide.

  • Wednesday, March 24, 7 p.m:  Community Focus on Anti-AAPI  Racism (Virtual Event):
    • Forum hosted by:
      • Harold Bailey (Chair, TEAM Westport)
      • Alison Patton (Pastor, Saugatuck Congregational Church)
      • Jenny Nelson (Director of education and community Engagement, Westport Country Playhouse)
      • Bernicestine McLeod Bailey (TEAM Westport)
    • Join the discussion for solidarity and reflection on the rising tide of AAPI racism and violence. All are welcome.
    • Learn more and register through The Westport Library:
      https://westportlibrary.org/event/me-and-white-supremacy-the-challenge-continues/
    • [Note: The originally planned 4 sessions on “Me and White Supremacy”: The Challenge Continues have been postponed to (April 7 and 21, and May 5 and 19)].
  • Wednesday, March 31, 7 p.m. (Virtual Event):
    • TEAM Westport Schools Work Group. Join us for our next Schools Workgroup meeting. We will continue our discussion of white supremacy culture and how it shows up in our community, focusing on the recent tragedies against AAPI and Anti-Asian hate. All are welcome.
    • This is a Zoom meeting through the Westport Library: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84428376997?pwd=WlZOaks3a2JKZHEwMUZrd1RuVTR5UT09
    • Meeting ID: 844 2837 6997; Passcode: 048473,

“Stop Asian Hate” Rally Set For Saturday

A group of Westporters, working with 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and Police Chief Foti Koskinas, have organized a peaceful gathering this Saturday (March 27).

At 10 a.m., the community is invited to come together at Jesup Green, in a show of solidarity against racism and discrimination toward Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. Social distancing and masks are required.

For more information, or to get involved, email AAPIwestport@gmail.com.

[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)