Two weeks ago on March 16, 2021, eight people, across 3 Atlanta massage parlors, were killed in a hateful mass shooting. Of the eight killed, seven were women, and of the seven six were Asian.
The past year has seen minority communities face some of their highest and lowest points in the nation’s history. Fear, grief, and vulnerability pervade our nation as people continue to be hurt by the hate that binds all of America. For centuries, minority groups have endeavored to find a place as an “American,” often forfeiting their own identities and lives in the process, all while our country has yet to free itself from these cycles of hatred.
Recall the injustices in our law enforcement as we overtake the one-year anniversaries of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Recall the targeted attacks against the Asian community as COVID-19 overtook the nation. Recall the rising counts of hate crimes in the months leading up to and following the 2020 Election. These events shine spotlights on discrimination in our contemporary history, but are far from the only times our communities feel the pains of oppression—ultimately, they are all grounded in the same hateful sentiments experienced by minorities throughout everyday life, and the same silence and ambivalence that allows for acts of hatred to go unnoticed. The longer we hold off in silence, the more the pain and anxiety we share will continue to multiply.
“In less than 48 hours, we had a historic Asian Oscar moment with multiple firsts in 93 years—then a mass shooting targeting 3 Asian-owned businesses…. We can resist. Take up space. Make noise.”Min Jin Lee, via Twitter
Right now, we have a golden opportunity to grasp the transient attention given to addressing racism and turn it into enduring societal change. Only through individual steps, can we fully grapple with the effects this tragedy and truly change our future for the better.
We at YGA will not stand in silence and allow hate to triumph. Now is our time for action. Now is our time to make a change. It’s no longer sufficient to simply superficially support those who are fighting for this change through social media—it’s time for us to be the ones standing up for ourselves and our peers. Not being the target of hatred does not limit your ability to fight. Not knowing enough isn’t an excuse to step away.
Start small. Write to your local institutions. Educate your local communities. Support minority-owned businesses. Volunteer at local social organizations. Raise money for those hurt by recent events. Participate in protests, rallies, and demonstrations.
We are the future, and together, individually, we can make a positive difference in the world.