On Tuesday night (March 16, 2021) a man with a gun shot and killed eight people, including six young Asian women. According to the New York Times, Asian Americans were targeted in nearly 3,800 hate incidents in the past year. Words cannot fully express the senselessness of this violence, nor can they fully measure the amount of pain and suffering that will endure long after last night’s carnage. And that is why we say that words alone are simply not enough.
Our words of sympathy or collective empathy are not enough. Words of outrage from our elected leaders are not enough. Declarations of the values that we stand for are meaningless, unless we actually stand for those values.
We call upon our neighbors – and anyone who can read these words – to be an ally to our Asian neighbors. Be an ally to all our neighbors who are women, for they are also too often the target of hate-based violence. Be an ally. We call upon you to live up to the meaning of the word “ally.”
“Ally” – One that is associated with another as a helper: A person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle.
Allyship is what we do locally that makes our town special. It’s what drives us to support each other during crises. This tragedy is a crisis. We ask each of us to stand up and demonstrate real support and assistance to our Asian neighbors and local businesses. Do it today. The world doesn’t change overnight. Small actions matter. The accumulation of all of our small actionsmake an impact. Here is just a small list of actions we can each do to support our community.
- Did you know that approximately 1,100 of our neighbors are Asian? That’s roughly 4% of our population. How can you be a better ally to your Asian neighbors? Reach out and solidify a connection today. Make them feel seen, cared for, and appreciated.
- There are a number of Asian-owned businesses in Ridgefield, including restaurants, salons, health professionals and others. These are local businesses deserving of our support. Give them your business. Or perhaps just show up with a basket of fruit or bouquet of flowers. Every act of kindness has meaning and value.
- Call or email your state and local elected officials. Ask them what they are doing to address hate-based violence. Ask them what they are doing to push for the renewal of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Ask them what you can do to help. [contact your elected officials]
- Sit down with your children and have a conversation today about hate-based violence. Explain why that is wrong. Teach them to end the cycle of prejudice.
- Read a book by an Asian author. Watch a film by an Asian director. Learn the ways that we are different and yet still the same.
- Come up with your own suggestion to add to this “To Do” list. In whatever small way that you can, be part of the solution.