Discussion of AAPI Violence in Our Community

April 12, 2021
Diann Kitamura explaining how some family members have been a target of hate.

Diann Kitamura explaining how some family members have been a target of hate.

Kiera Moran

“I think it’s important for organizations to take a look at their patterns and practices in order to address the systemic racism and biases… and it’s important for organizations you have to be honest. I think too often people sweep things under the rug… but it’s important that people be honest in their analysis and discussions,” said Esther Lemus as she shares her thoughts on how people should adjust the way they view others in all parts of life. 

This event, a virtual press conference on Zoom, discussed the recent attacks on Asian Americans while also finding helpful and supportive ways to fight against racism. With Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins as the moderator, the panelists for this event were a mix of Board of Supervisors, mayors and other council members that joined in support. 

While Hopkins handed the microphone to people that were impacted by racism, one story which really caught my attention was President of Santa Rosa Junior College, Dr. Frank Chong’s. He first starts off by briefly mentioning how his brother was attacked and beaten up by white people just for getting sushi. He then goes on to explain “this latest incident (the six Asian women that were killed in Georgia) has hit me up close and personal… And the way I look at it is from two fronts, one of them is, of course racism… we need to do a better job educating our community… We are assets, not liabilities… and there is also racial income inequality… a lot of crime and poverty happening because of opportunism.” I couldn't agree more with what Chong had to say. I believe that if we do a better job of educating our communities, the more comfortable they will feel talking about race. They will learn from different perspectives, experiences and stories that are told by people of color. People of color need these platforms, so their voices can be heard. 

As the conversation goes on, Hopkins encourages the panelists to explain what they stand for and believe in. Supervisor James Gore said “As a white male, I embrace my role as a change agent, to not just be a champion but to be an ally and an accomplice. To look to take down the systems and institutions that institutionally put people, like me, at an advantage and personally denounce and deconstruct everything from systems to hateful comments, to negative rhetoric in my own life.” With this being said, I wish there were more allies to turn to, especially in a time that racism is everywhere. It can be challenging to find safe places to talk about issues and not feel judged, but as a Chinese-American, I applaud non-AAPI folks that speak out about being our allies. It gives platforms like this, a better chance at being heard by the larger community. 

Overall, I want to give big kudos to all people of color who are brave, confident and comfortable enough to go public and talk about their own stories/impacts of racism. With current events about hate for all Asian Americans, I’m now a little scared for my own life. As an adopted Chinese-American with white parents, I have not yet personally gotten hate from other people in my community. I’m not sure if it’s because I have white parents that gives me this buffer, but when I do go out alone, I do feel on edge, since I’m not sure what people will say to me. 
To watch more of this event, click here.