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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

TW: racism, murder, violence and xenophobia

It deeply saddens me to feel the need to address and share my thoughts on the current widespread anti-Asian racism. Discussing this is, and will likely be, the most difficult article for me to write and share with you because it hits too close to home and leaves me with a heavy heart.

An 84-year-old man died after being violently attacked in broad daylight by a teenager in San Francisco. This teenager later pleaded “not guilty” to murder and elder abuse charges despite being caught on camera. A 91-year-old man, a 55-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man were assaulted and left injured by the same perpetrator within the same day. Another 89-year-old woman had her shirt set on fire. A man on his way to work on the subway was slashed across his face by a box cutter. How many more of these violent acts have gone unseen or unreported? We need to bring awareness to these crimes and hold perpetrators accountable for their violent actions.

There is too much happening too quickly to remain up to date and process all the recent news. I am trying to understand the attacks against our elders – recipients of nonsensical acts of violence towards people who could have easily been my grandparents walking alone on the streets. I am trying to fight the racial profiling of our Asian community who has been associated inaccurately and painfully with COVID for too long. I am trying my best to continue educating myself and find ways to listen and protect others within the community.

From my personal experience and within many discussions with other Asian members from my community, it’s frequently known for the elderly to not speak up about issues they view as individual problems. It’s rooted within our culture for our elders to overcome troubles themselves because they don’t wish to make others concerned. Because this is a widely common practice among them, I must encourage and beg you to speak up and amplify their voices on their behalf. Our elders may choose to stay silent and not bring forward their experiences to other members of the Asian community or government officials. Do not dare to mistake this silence as a sign of weakness. It does not mean they are not hurting and not affected by the hateful actions of others. I cannot emphasize enough that this does not mean they are weak and afraid.

I’m asking everyone to educate themselves and speak up against the continuation of anti-Asian hate crimes that have been steadily increasing with the spread of COVID. Numerous cases have been reported within the past year of Asians regularly facing targeted and violent incidents. But racism against the Asian community is not new. Our communities have faced a deep history of racism long before the pandemic. It’s just that incidents have now increased significantly, and the conversation towards removing the racist rhetoric of blaming Asians for the pandemic is long overdue. It’s a concern to realize that if I hadn’t seen the videos or other information on various social media platforms, I could have never learned about these assault cases and hate crimes. To this, I ask – where is the media coverage? Mainstream news sources have been too quiet for the number of incidents occurring every day and week. Their silence about our reality is deafening.

Whether you are Asian or not, please inform yourselves of the recent hate crimes against the Asian community. Please watch, listen and share our stories. I understand that some videos and articles may be triggering and painful to view, but recognize that this is a violent reality and hard truth for us.

Truthfully, anti-Asian behaviour and actions will not disappear along with COVID when this is over. But we must take action sooner than later. Help to do your part in supporting family and friends in the Asian community and speak out against racism in any form when you see it happening. Please do not be a bystander – we can’t lose more lives.

Disclaimer: I used various sources to inform my writing for this article. I am not attempting to steal any direct opinions but only trying to share and amplify other voices.

Melissa Huen

Wilfrid Laurier '22

Melissa is in her 4th year at Wilfrid Laurier University, studying Music Therapy with a minor in Psychology. When she's not busy raving about her hometown, Vancouver, BC, you can find her baking, travelling, or checking out the newest restaurants in town.
Chelsea Bradley

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Chelsea finished her undergrad with a double major in Biology and Psychology and a minor in Criminology. She loves dogs way too much and has an unhealthy obsession with notebooks and sushi. You can find her quoting memes and listening to throwbacks in her spare - okay basically all - her time. She joined Her Campus in the Fall of 2019 as an editor, acted as one of two senior editors for the Winter 2020 semester and worked alongside Rebecca as one of the Campus Correspondents for the 2020-2021 year!