Standing With the Asian-American Pacific Islander Community

Across the nation, racism against the Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has become more prominent through multiple hate-filled attacks towards Asian-Americans. These attacks have left many with questions and fear, but have also led to activism and awareness of changes that must be made. 

One such attack was on March 16, 2021, at multiple locations in Atlanta. Eight victims lost their lives that day: Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng. Because many of the victims were Asian, and combined with the multiple recent attacks towards elderly Asian-Americans, many questioned the true motive behind the attacks. 

Racism towards Asian-Americans is not a new thing, however; it has been around since people first began immigrating from Asia to the United States. According to the US State Department, Chinese immigrants came to America in the 1850s, specifically to look for work mining gold. Soon after, they were met with discrimination and the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. According to Britannica, this act ruled that Chinese workers could no longer go to the United States.

Anh-Thu Pavelka and her family gathered in the airport, shortly after arriving in the United States on February 15, 1984.

Other examples of racism intertwined with Asian-American history can be found in personal stories within the Holy Family community. Anh-Thu Pavelka, mother of three Holy Family students, recalls her experiences as a Vietnamese immigrant who came to the US when she was only 8 years old. She says, “My parents experienced racism firsthand. After my dad was rear ended, my parents stopped at a gas station to call the police. The worker there told the owner of the other vehicle to tell the police that my dad had hit him, when this obviously wasn’t the case. The worker assumed my dad didn’t understand English because his speech was not as fluent.” This situation and many others show the presence of racism towards Asian-Americans that exists in the United States and has existed for a long time. With effort, we can work together to make sure that it does not exist in the future.

There are many ways for students and the Holy Family community to show their solidarity for Asian-Americans. One way is by praying! Pray for the victims and their families, and pray that all those with hate in their heart will replace it with love and compassion. Remember to love your neighbors as God loves us. 

Another way to support the Asian-American Pacific Islander community is by examining your own prejudices and learning to recognize and call out racist actions when you see them.

Together, we can work to protect and show our love for the AAPI community and all people in our world.