Asian Americans Take A Stand: Black Lives Matter To Us, Too
Article Source:Forbes Original Post Date:
July 10th, 2016
A man holds up a sign saying “black lives matter” during a protest of shootings by police, in Washington, Friday, July 8, 2016, by the White House. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
It’s difficult to process and make sense of the recent tragedies. The killing of black men by the police, as well as the killings of police officers. I’ve personally been struggling with a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, outrage and deep sadness. Perhaps you are as well. I find myself endlessly scrolling through my Facebook and Twitter feed, feeling ever more traumatized. Not knowing what I can do to contribute, to help.
According to the book Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services, people respond to trauma in different ways. “The impact of trauma can be subtle, insidious or outright destructive. How an event affects an individual depends on many factors, including characteristics of the individual, the type and characteristics of the event(s), developmental processes, the meaning of the trauma and sociocultural factors.” Each of us must find our own way of working through trauma. What we know from the research is that taking constructive actions can help to process trauma. People are “resilient and develop appropriate coping strategies, including the use of social supports, to deal with the aftermath and effects of trauma.”
Self-organized group of Asian Americans gather in San Francisco, CA to read Letters for Black Lives. Elaine Dang (on-camera speaker), Junho Kim (videographer), Huy Hong (director), Photo by Ying-Ying Lu
Earlier yesterday, I came across a post in my Facebook feed, titled: “Dear Mom, Dad, Uncle, Auntie: Black Lives Matter to Us, Too.” It’s a collective effort of the Asian American community to have difficult conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement, in particular with the older generation. Christina Xu, an ethnographer and writer, and other Asian-American activists wrote the letter to their families. Within a few days, hundreds of people contributed and collaborated using Google Docs to write the letter, translate it into over 20 languages, self-organized to make videos of Asian Americans reading the letter, record audio versions of the letter and created a community on Facebook as well as a Slack group.
Mom, Dad, Uncle, Auntie, Grandfather, Grandmother: We need to talk.
You may not have grown up around people who are Black, but I have. Black people are a fundamental part of my life: they are my friends, my classmates and teammates, my roommates, my family. Today, I’m scared for them.
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Having something I can pour my efforts and attention into, rather than feeling like a helpless bystander has felt like a ray of light after being surrounded completely by darkness. We live in an era where it’s easier than ever for people to self-organize and mobilize. To individually pour our efforts into achieving a collective good.
As a Korean-American immigrant, it’s been difficult to know how I should, or can get involved. There’s a deep tension between the black and Asian American community that goes back for many decades. Growing up in Queens, New York, my parents often warned and told me to be fearful of black people.