Enough is enough.
On Thursday, Lost alum Daniel Dae Kim addressed Congress about Anti-Asian hate, especially related to Tuesday night’s Atlanta shootings, which took the lives of eight people, six of whom were Asian women. In a poignant speech referencing the recent hate crimes, the 52-year-old expressed via a virtual call:
“We as Asian Americans have come to this country because we believe in the American dream. Many of us have succeeded. And some of us are even the frontline health care workers upon all whom we’ve come to depend during this terrible pandemic. But many of us are struggling, too. In fact, the wealth disparity between the richest Asian Americans and the poorest is the largest of any ethnic group in America. In New York, Asian Americans have a higher poverty rate than any other minority group. Fully one in four are living below the poverty line. And poverty rates among Asian American seniors are much higher than the national average. That’s something to consider as we watch the most vulnerable in our community get taunted, pushed, slashed, and murdered. Despite this wide disparity of experience, we continue to be tagged the model minority. We simply cannot continue to live with the myth that the most successful of us represent the totality of us.”
His plea, which included the names of Asian-Americans who had passed or were horrifically injured, comes just six months after Daniel argued in favor of HR-908, a resolution to call “on all public officials to condemn and denounce anti-Asian sentiment, racism, discrimination, and religious intolerance related to COVID-19.” The bill eventually passed, but shockingly without a single vote from the GOP.
“Some of you may remember I that I was with you just this past September discussing the importance of diversity in American media. I was disheartened to find that for a bill that required no money or resources, just a simple condemnation of acts of hate against people of Asian descent, 164 members of Congress–all Republican–voted against it… I’m not naive enough to think that I’m going to convince all of you to stand up for us — trust me, I’ve seen your voting records. But I am speaking to those to whom humanity still matters. There are moments in a country’s history that chart its course indelibly for the future. For Asian Americans, that moment is now. What happens right now and over the course of the coming months will send a message for generations to come as to whether we matter, whether the country we call home chooses to erase us, or include us, dismiss us, or respect us, invisible-ize us, or see us. Because you may consider us as statistically insignificant now, but one more fact that has no alternative is that we are the fastest growing racial demographic in the country. We are 23 million strong. We are united, and we are waking up.”
Now, in the wake of Captain Jay Baker’s explanation that the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, had a “really bad day” prior to the mass murder, Kim had this to say:
“I will tell you to start that when I have a bad day, I think about going home, having a beer and watching a movie with my family. I don’t think about going out and murdering eight people. And it says a lot about this person that when he says he’s trying to eliminate temptation from his life, instead of seeking help for himself, his way of eliminating temptation is to kill people, to take a gun and shoot people.”
In fact, he even called out Baker’s controversial past when it comes to Anti-Asian hate himself.
“[He] tweeted out t-shirts making fun of coronavirus and connecting it to China. This is a person who has a direct connection to the shooter of eight people. He is not impartial. So it calls into question the veracity of his position.”
As of Thursday, the Captain was removed as a spokesperson for the case, which has brought light to the rise of Anti-Asian hate in the US following Trump’s racist claims the coronavirus was the “Kung Flu.” It has also called attention to gun laws since the shooter bought his weapon on the same “bad day” as the violent crime.
In a press conference Wednesday, Sheriff Frank Reynolds reported the suspect had indicated “some issues, potentially sexual addiction,” which is why he had “frequented some of these places in the past.” But Kim (obviously) did not accept Robert’s “sexual temptation” trigger as an appropriate reason for the public not to be addressing the Atlanta shootings as a “hate crime.”
The Hawaii Five-O star wondered:
“What does it mean when he sees the manifestation of sexual temptation as an Asian female? These are three places all that had an association with Asian people. If this was a synagogue or a Black church, and somebody shot up those places, would we really be asking whether this was a hate crime or not?”
Daniel is just the latest celeb to take his deeply personal pain to a public stage in hopes of enacting true justice and real change. On Monday, Stop AAPI Hate released a statement condemning the actions that took the lives of the spa workers, and many other celebrities used their voice to speak up for the Asian community in the aftermath of this tragedy.
Sending love to all those mourning the loss of these innocent victims gone too soon. We must all rise up together to combat these blatant examples of racism within our country!! We simply cannot let mass murder become an acceptable way to handle a “bad day.”
Watch the speech (below):