The country is in mourning – again. This time over the murders of eight people in Atlanta and the murders of ten in Boulder. For those in the Asian community, the murders in Atlanta just brought to national attention what you likely already knew. Some Americans filled with hate and fear are scapegoating and attacking Asians for the Coronavirus. Asians in America experienced more than 3,800 acts of violence in just the last year, according to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organization. But prejudice and discrimination against the Asian community is not new. I am reminded of how America placed Asian-Americans in internment camps during World War II.
And last week, the trial of Derek Chauvin began for the murder of George Floyd – a reminder of how hate and indifference has been a threat to Blacks for centuries. If you are feeling overwhelmed, consider limiting your news and social media consumption.
How do we make sense of how or why someone holds such animosity toward others that they would attack and murder random people they do not know? How do we wrap our heads around this level of hate? And what drives someone to act on this hate? Some will blame mental illness. But we know the vast majority of those living with severe mental illness are never violent. It’s so hard to comprehend. Yet, I want to understand. I want to believe that if we can understand the motivation and triggers for these violent acts, then we can stop these tragedies. But the ugly truth is that these acts of horror and worse have existed since the beginning of humanity across almost all cultures.
It’s also true that those who would perpetrate such violence are a small minority. And most of us do not hold such hate in our hearts. One of my favorite quotes comes from Mr. Rogers. Yes, that Mr. Rogers. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
This quote has been used time and time again in the face of difficult circumstances, but it still rings true. To our Asian friends and colleagues, people of color, and everyone left feeling frightened by the events of this past week, there are helpers around you – including all of us at Wyandot BHN. During times like these, we lean on each other to help us heal and keep moving forward. Together, we must continue our efforts to stop AAPI hate.