It is difficult enough as Asian-Americans to deal with racism and xenophobia, especially in these turbulent times of increasing violence and harassment – but talking to the children about these issues is an added challenge.
Jane Park, a Korean-American mother of two, ages 5 and 7, found the perfect way to overcome the obstacle of this often uncomfortable conversation, especially when it comes to young children.
In a TikTok viral video, this brave and insightful mom shared a video of her discussion with her children with her 3 million followers.
In the video, Park gives her children a “sight word test,” where they hold up pieces of paper with words and tell them to say each word out loud.
“Ready for another sight word test?” Begins Park, looking directly at her children who are not visible in the video. “There’s a message in this one, so I want you to think about it,” she says.
As she shows her children each piece of paper, the viewer hears her say two sentences: “Stop Asian hatred” and “Hate is a virus”.
First, one of the children mispronounces the word virus and Park corrects them to make sure they can say the word correctly and understand the definition.
“Why should we call hatred a virus,” she asks, making her young minds think critically.
“Because viruses infect people,” replied one of the children.
Park then asked their children if they believed that hate could infect people, to which they replied, “mmhm.”
She then gradually gets more serious with her words and speaks to her kindergarten and sophomore children as if they were adults. She reminds them of previous discussions about the recent violence against Asian Americans and asks how the news made them feel.
“Sorry. Because they killed people. They killed Asians,” replied one child.
Park then used a calming but matter-of-fact tone to tell her children that it is important to talk about it and create awareness because “some people may not know what is going on”.
After her video went viral, she spoke to TODAY parents about why she posted the video.
“[My son] I responded to the news. Given the climate and increasing anti-Asian racism, I looked into it and told him so, ”said Park. “I said, ‘You know, the victims were Asian-American and they could have been an aunt, a grandmother.'”
Grandmother Xiao Zhen Xie’s family, the 75-year-old who struggled after an unprovoked attack in SF, has raised nearly $ 900,000. According to their wishes, they donate everything back to support the AAPI community in the fight against racism. https://t.co/mAwSPU3WDl pic.twitter.com/njTkYKBRJg
– Evy Kwong (@EVYSTADIUM) March 23, 2021
In a longer version of the video Park posted on Instagram, she wrote a caption emphasizing the need for parents to have these types of discussions with their children.
“In the three short months of 2021, I had more difficult conversations with my children than I had ever with my own parents. It breaks my heart to have them and I don’t know what the right way to go other than to stall and be awkward and try to process together, “said Park.
She concluded on a statement encouraging other Asian American parents to follow her example, although it is not easy.
“Let us better equip our children for the world they will inherit and shape.”
Park used a powerful form of activism – relevant discussions with future generations who will shape the future of our society. But comedian and actor Ken Jeong felt compelled to reach into his wallet and use his well-earned money wisely.
Jeong, a native of Detroit and born to two South Korean immigrants, was devastated by the brutal rampage that took place in Atlanta, Georgia last week.
In response, he donated $ 50,000 to the families of five Asian victims who lost their lives as a result of the shooting.
The 51-year-old Crazy Rich Asians star made five separate donations, worth $ 10,000 each, to GoFundMe campaigns for the victims’ families, according to NBC.
Jeong went on Twitter to share some of the fundraiser and posted a video of himself and other Asian-American actors like Lou Diamond Phillips and Keiko Agena.
“Stop the pandemic of hate,” the actor urges his fan base in the video.
Jeong appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Monday March 22nd to discuss the rise in anti-Asian attacks across the country.
He praised one of the show’s writers, Karen Chee, after she was featured in a segment dealing with the Atlanta shootings, according to a report by The Independent.
“Asian-American women are attacked twice as often in America. This was clearly a hate crime, ”Jeong said.
The Bay Area in California has seen an overwhelming number of hate crimes, mostly in its Chinatown neighborhoods.
Current and former members of the San Francisco Fire Department are volunteering to end anti-Asian violence in their city.
On Sunday March 21, an Asian woman identified only as Clarisse was walking home from church when three unidentified suspects approached her and tried to steal her purse.
She refused to let her steal it and was slapped three times in the face.
When her attackers tried to flee, she held onto her getaway car and was dragged into the street. Clarisse finally let go and nearby witnesses helped her out.
Clarisse’s attack left multiple cuts and scratches, bruises on her right arm and near her right eye. In a shocking twist, after she recovered, she only had messages of love and healing for her unknown attacker.
ABC7 San Francisco host Dion Lim posted her words on Instagram.
“Know that you are loved, that people are there to help you. I know it’s difficult now, but we have to come back and have people in work and school so they are proactive and don’t feel like they have to do things, ”Clarisse told Lim.
A few days later, firefighters patrolled San Francisco’s Chinatown for the first time alongside the SF police and sheriff’s departments.
“While we don’t want them to engage in criminal activity, we want everyone to be safe, community members safe, and caring for the elderly and vulnerable,” Sheriff Paul Miyamoto told KPIX.
Aside from surveying the streets, the team of volunteers will be handing out maps with a brand new notice line to help Chinese-speaking residents report incidents of discrimination and violence.
On Monday, the Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association, Shaw San Lium, addressed hundreds of people gathered for a rally in Portsmouth Square, Chinatown.
“We must combat racism, economic inequality and sexism / gender-based violence with effective community-level solutions to achieve real security for our communities,” said Liu.