Why #BLM Matters to Asian Americans
Author/作者: Olivia Shen
June 3, 2020
Dear family, relatives, aunties, uncles, and friends from America and China, fellow classmates and colleagues,
By now, I am sure all of you are aware of what is happening in America right now, and I don’t mean the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a greater pandemic that runs deeper in our country.
Despite America having the largest number of cases and deaths of COVID-19, people are taking to the streets to stand for #BlackLivesMatter, in reaction to the recent murder of George Floyd, who was killed in under 9 minutes by a white officer kneeling on his neck, and countless other African Americans.
The coronavirus has exposed us Asians to acts of racism and violence, but our experiences are not comparable to what the Black community faces everyday, for centuries, in this nation. Left and right, innocent Black people are slighted, discriminated, hurt, and murdered out of cold blood purely for the color of their skin, and this is because years and years of these crimes are supported by the way our country has been built and is governed (systemic racism).
As first-generation Asian Americans, we understand, appreciate, and deeply love you for the sacrifices you as our older generation have made to pave your way to greater success and better lives in a foreign country, as well as those who fought for what’s right back home. You may not feel like this movement is relevant to you, but you are connected to it more than you think. The reason you’re able to come to America, have the freedom and achieve the successes you did is because of what African Americans had fought for in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. In fighting for their rights, they brought along with them all people of color and minorities in America.
During the Civil Rights Movement, Asian Americans experienced a positive change in their public image and managed to surpass African Americans socioeconomically. This is because America not only saw Asians as more beneficial politically during the Cold War, but they also felt threatened by the growing Civil Rights Movement. Because Asians were perceived as industrious, obeying and quiet citizens, white supremacist America created and framed us as the “model minority” as a convenient way to blame Black people for their own poverty, and discredit their movement.
If you have a negative bias towards Black people and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it is because white supremacist America continues to benefit off oppressing and pitting minorities against each other. We’ve all experienced forms of discrimination in this country, but now is the time to band together and fight against the systemic racism we’ve lived with for so long. If you believe that all lives are equal and worthy, you cannot sit idly by. In the words of Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”.
如果您对黑人和 #黑人的命也是命 运动有负面偏见，这是因为美国白人至上主义者持续从压迫少数族裔并且将他们置于对立面中得利。我们都在这个国家中经历过歧视，但现在是时候团结一心来对抗一直以来充斥我们生活的系统性种族歧视。如果你相信生命都是平等、有价值的，你不能再冷眼旁观了。用戴斯蒙·图图（Desmond Tutu）的话来说，“如果你在不公正中选择中立，那你就已经站在了压迫者的那一方”。
Protestors nationwide have taken to the streets peacefully, but are met with violent forces by the police. Unprovoked, the police have fired rubber bullets and thrown tear gas into unarmed crowds – holding only signs, shouting for peace, and kneeling before officers. In addition, Trump, who cowardly hid in a bunker last Friday, escalated the violence by calling for officers to shoot the unarmed protestors. The dangers of attending these protests are evidently significant, but I wish I could participate physically with fellow citizens fighting for what’s right (I came to quarantine in Boston with not much, so I don’t have the necessary equipment to keep myself safe). Thus, I am exercising my voice as an angered Asian American, hoping to educate you and demonstrate why action needs to be taken by everyone right now.
If you are currently residing in America, I urge you to speak up: contact your local representatives, sign petitions, and donate to organizations supporting #BlackLivesMatter and the protests. If you are in China, you can also financially support these organizations, as well as share any relevant readings and articles supporting the movement on WeChat and WeiBo. Please refer to the articles and donation sites below to learn more and give what you can. Each state also has their respective bail funds you can give to for arrested protestors.
如果您现在居住在美国，我希望你能为现在的抗议发声：联系您当地的政府代表，签署请愿书，为支持 #黑人的命也是命 的组织捐款。如果您在中国，您也可以从经济上支持这些组织，同时在微信和微博上分享各种相关的支持这个运动的文章。请见本文附上的链接，有我推荐的一些捐款渠道和了解如何尽一份力帮助的方式。每个州也有自己的保释金基金，您可以捐款来帮助被逮捕的抗议者。
The American Dream is not supposed to be exclusive – your life and liberty should not be determined by the color of your skin. We hope that you join the fight against police brutality and for change within our country’s corrupt system that continues to oppress the lives of minorities working for a better future.
Friends and family – please help me repost to spread #BlackLivesMatter as far as we can amongst the Chinese community (I don’t have a large number of contacts on WeChat). Use your resources and voice to take a stance. To first-generation Asian Americans like myself, especially those who I’ve grown up with, please help in educating and inspiring those around us in our community.
各位朋友和家人 — 请大家在朋友圈和华人群中帮我转发 #黑人的命也是命 （我微信上好友有限），用您的声音和资源来表达态度。像我一样的第一代美籍亚裔，尤其是和我一起长大的朋友们，请你们帮助我一起在我们的社区中传播信息和启发我们身边的人。
Olivia Shen 沈雨音 & Rosa Chen 陈莎莎 (& your first-generation Asian American children)
Translation into Chinese assisted by a friend 🙂
Educational articles and resources/相关资源:
“20+ Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now” – Medium.com
“Here’s Where You Can Donate to Help Protests Against Police Brutality” – Rollingstone.com
“How To Support Protestors in Every City” – Papermag.com
“‘America Has Looted Black People. We Learned It from You’ Says Women’s March Activist Tamika Mallory” – Democracynow.org
“8 Minutes and 46 Seconds: How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody” – Nytimes.com
“The Pandemic Of Black Trauma Will Never End” – Refinery29.com
“Anguish and Action” – Obama.org
“亲爱的妈妈、爸爸、叔叔、阿姨：我们也珍惜黑人的生命” – Lettersforblacklives.com
“The real reasons the U.S. became less racist toward Asian Americans” – Washingtonpost.com
Black Lives Matter
Minnesota Freedom Fund
George Floyd Memorial Fund
Brooklyn Community Bail Fund/Liberty Fund NYC
Black Visions Collective
Reclaim the Block
The Bail Project
National Bail Out Fund