The Asian Gold Ribbon campaign against anti-Asian racism.
Today we have a very powerful blog from Gina Wong. She is a Psychologist and Professor at Athabasca University. Gina has had enough. She has decided to speak up about the frightening increase in anti- Asian racist attacks that have been happening recently. But more than just speak up, she has started a movement. The Asian Gold Ribbon campaign is a platform developed to initiate wide-spread visibility against anti-Asian racism. commUNITY is proud to partner with such a worthy cause. Follow the link at the bottom of the blog to find out more about this important issue and what you can do to help. But first, please read Gina's own words:
--It’s been a heavy and emotional few weeks for me as an Asian woman. I lived with internalised racism for a very long time and it has longstanding repercussions in my life. This year, for Asian Heritage month in May, I can no longer stay silent. My experiences compel me to join forces with others and galvanise an Asian movement to have our voices heard. I want to be able to raise my daughters in an era where Asian people feel important and valued for who they are. The Asian Gold Ribbon Campaign is about Asians being seen and heard. We want others to join in solidarity against anti-Asian racism and to celebrate Asian heritage and culture.
The recent images and videos of East Asians being attacked while people stand idly by feels like vicarious trauma and reminds me of the cruelty and hate I grew up with just because I was Chinese. One video in particular was hard for me to watch. A 75-year old Asian American woman who was being physically attacked, fought back and was heralded for defending herself. But seeing her was like seeing my own grandmother being terrorised and having to fight for herself.
I was physically antagonised when I was 7 years old. I grew up in Canada, in the city of Montreal. In Grade 1, after school let out a group of children would shout “chink, chink, chink” at me. They would chase me, spit on the sidewalk at my feet and even kick me. Those were the bad days, which were also sadly most days that school year. I got the message over and over again: I am different. I was lesser than. I didn’t belong. I had no place of safety in my own neighbourhood or in my own life. Their bitter words, their fingers pulling at the sides of their faces to imitate my Chinese eyes set in unnameable feelings. Perhaps helplessness; perhaps rage. Those emotions slowly simmered within me over the years in ways that I can only now recognise in retrospect.
I recall praying and wishing deep within myself that I could be different from the “lesser-than” inferior Chinese people. I often wished I was invisible. The greatest compliment anyone could have paid me during my early teen years was that I did not look or act Chinese. I strove hard for this and it was not difficult since I was immersed in the dominant culture and spoke English without an accent. I spoke no Chinese at all and denied any comprehension of the language. I spent immeasurable amounts of time trying to alter my appearance all because I believed the natural me was worthless.
But I never lashed out. I never attacked anyone. I hope my past trauma can be used as a force for good in the world. It has strengthened my resolve to maintain the momentum of an Asian movement that will sustain beyond the month of May. What the recent events have shown me is that I can no longer stay silent or passive as we continue to see increasing racism and violence directed at our community. It is our time to stand strong and proud and have our voices heard.
Dr. Gina Wong (she/her), Founder & Ambassador
The Asian Gold Ribbon Campaign https://asiangoldribbon.com/