Every year, I’ve always been excited about the month of May. As the son of immigrants and as Chair of the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, I’ve looked forward to celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
This May, however, we have to do more than celebrate our heritage. In the wake of COVID-19, APA communities across the country have faced shocking bigotry, hate and even violence — attacked by the virus of racism, fueled by some of the most influential leaders of our nation. Just this month, advocates collected 1,500 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents throughout the country.
Several weeks ago, through conversations with APA leaders across the country, we decided we needed to do something.
That’s why during this month of May, I’m participating in a weekly series of online national town halls called Rise: Asian Pacific America. The first event is this Friday, May 8 at 5pm PST — and I’ll be joined by writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, comedian Jenny Yang, civil rights attorney Dale Minami and many others. Can you join us?
Over 50 grassroots and civil rights organizations have joined this important endeavor. I’m proud to be partnering with strong APA elected leaders from across the country on this project, including Minnesota State Representative Fue Lee, New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, Washington State Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos, and Boston City Councillor Michelle Wu.
These conversations are incredibly important. We’ll discuss the challenges our community faces, discuss historical context, and chart a path forward beyond the pandemic. In these anxious times, it’s important we come together as one national community, share our experiences, and lift each other up.
That’s how we’ll weather the health, economic, and civil rights crises this pandemic has caused.
Please join us. We’re stronger together. Rise up!