Don’t pick and choose which violence to care about

As an Asian American from the Midwest, I have noticed a clear escalation of anti-Asian violence across the country in recent months. It can be concluded that this is due, at least in some part, to a xenophobic response to COVID-19. (Remember “kung flu” and “China virus”?)

Some of these twisted perpetrators have chosen to target Asian Americans with stunning crimes, as a misdirected form of retribution for the pandemic. It’s easy to sweep aside these stories of violence from one’s memory if they aren’t “mainstream” enough to fit the public’s narrative; don’t let that happen.

It will not be known for some time, pending an investigation, what motivated the murder of Chicago native and Army veteran Kevin Jiang near the Yale campus this month. We can only pray for justice for his family and hold criminals accountable.

But Kevin’s story is not unique. A slew of vicious attacks caught on camera in the Bay Area against elderly Asians, and the recently released video of state police executing 19-year-old adoptee Christian Hall in Pennsylvania, while both of his hands are in the air, are important pieces of this larger, disturbing trend. Violence doesn’t target just one race, class, political party, or type of person. Americans must remind ourselves daily to take the extra step to protect all marginalized communities — not just picking and choosing which ones to care about based on what month it is.

Former Indiana House of Representatives; Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of NWI; Columbia BSIE 2016