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3 understated reasons why Asian Americans are grieving right now — and why you need to support them

"We are mourning because we know that the shootings in Atlanta go far beyond the headline and surface-level details that have been reported to the public," writes Fulphil founder and CEO Tiffany Yau.

A "Standing in Solidarity Against Hate Crimes" event in Columbus, Ohio, on March 20, 2021. (Photo by Flickr user Becker1999, used via a Creative Commons license)
This is a guest post by Tiffany Yau, founder and CEO of Philadelphia-based edtech startup Fulphil. It originally appeared on Medium and is republished here with permission.

I was 5 years old when I encountered racism for the first time because I was “different.” At the time, I learned that “different” meant being the only Asian girl in my class.

Twenty years later, instead of getting bullied on the playground, I’m horrified to wake up to see people who look “different” like me, my friends, and my family, getting killed senselessly.

The Asian American community is heavily grieving over the murders of Delaina Ashley Yuan, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim and Yong Ae Yue. We are mourning because we know that the shootings in Atlanta go far beyond the headline and surface-level details that have been reported to the public.

1. We are reminded of the untold stories of our own parents and family members.

Whether you identify as a first, second, or third-generation Asian American, you know someone in your family who sacrificed and left behind their lives and everything they’ve known to come to the U.S. with very little and the sole hope of creating a better opportunity for their children, grandchildren, and future generations to come. With this, it has been absolutely heartbreaking to see the increase in hate crimes and incriminating racism posed toward the Asian American community.

A photo of Tiffany Yau’s mom’s former home in Vietnam. (Courtesy photo)

2. We still haven’t found a place to call home.

Home is supposed to be a safe haven and sanctuary. My family and millions of others have given up their homes and traveled to foreign lands to seek new opportunities that they otherwise would never have had.

3. We have a multi-generational culture of minimizing.

During a time where so many are hurting, we’re still struggling because it’s up to us to speak up for ourselves and call out the many injustices. It’s a very isolating experience and this is something that cannot be fully understood without understanding our culture. A large part of Asian culture traditionally emphasizes the concept of minimizing ourselves, being selfless, and embracing humility — and we see our parents and grandparents actively practice this every day for as long as we can remember.

Ways you can help

1. Bring awareness to the issue.

2. Be conscious of racism and act on it.

  • Actively make efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
  • Educate others on the issues at hand. Report hate crimes.

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