Five Ways to Honor Our Asian American Brothers & Sisters, This Month & Beyond

Five Ways to Honor Our Asian American Brothers & Sisters, This Month & Beyond May 15, 2020

If you follow me on Facebook and other social media channels, you may have watched one of the recent Facebook Live interviews.

Pixabay // oyehaha

Last week, Kathy Khang, author of Raise Your Voice and co-author of More Than Serving Tea, kicked off the series …although due to technical difficulties on my part, we ended up moving the conversation over to Instagram at the last minute. Yesterday, Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, author of Start, Love, Repeat and the forthcoming Let There d.light, joined me for a conversation that actually worked on the correct platform.

On Thursday, May 21st, famed children’s and middle grade author Mitali Perkins will join me, and on May 28th, author and professor Russell Jeung will take the stage.

In a sense, this format allows me to interview and showcase some of my favorite thinkers, activists and authors (whom I also happen to call friends). But even more importantly, during API Heritage Month, it allows all of us to listen and learn from some of our Asian American brothers and sisters.

Of course, I’d be remiss to mention that it’s not just about listening and learning …but it’s also about doing something. Just as honoring our Black brothers and sisters is not just something that happens during the month of February, honoring, celebrating and actively fighting against hate toward the Asian community is something that happens every day of the year as well.

Curious as to where you might start? Here are a few ideas, some of which are courtesy of my conversations with Dorcas and Kathy:

Notice and make changes to your bookshelf. Check out this list of twelve books by API authors to read (and hit me up if you’re interested in reading Good Talk together – it’s next on my list and highlighted here as well). Also, when you buy a book written by a person of color, not only are you supporting and honoring the author’s hard work, but you’re showing publishers that representation matters.

Side note: Join me in reading Forward Me Back to You (Perkins) and At Home in Exile (Jeung) in the coming weeks, then join us with your questions the last two Thursdays in May.

Check in on your Asian American friends. Shoot them a text. Dial the phone. Send a direct message over Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. When a global pandemic is ignorantly (and wrongfully) labeled “the Chinese virus,” hate and fear take over. Sometimes, just reaching out to say, I’m thinking of you, is exactly what someone needs to hear.

Just say something. If you witness hate-mongering directed toward the Asian American community, just say something. You can just say something online. You can say something in the grocery store. You can choose to not stay silent.

Support an Asian-run business. As soon as the global pandemic hit U.S. soil, Asian-run businesses in our country saw a drop in customers. Etsy boasts a variety of Asian-owned businesses, but you can also support your local neighborhood by shopping at an Asian grocery store or getting take-out from an Asian-owned restaurant.

Finally, sign the statement from the Asian American Christian Collaborative. Not only is the website full of resources, but you can also join over 10,000 folks who have already signed the statement on anti-Asian racism in the time of COVID-19.

The possibilities, of course, are endless, so, what would you add?

The bottom line, I suppose, is simple: just do something. Rinse and repeat, again and again.

Reach out if you want to read a book together, otherwise, what would you add? 

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