‘We are united’: Daniel Dae Kim, Sen. Duckworth speak out on violence against Asian Americans
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii-based actor and producer Daniel Dae Kim testified to Congress on Thursday, sending a powerful message to lawmakers about a recent rise in violence against Asian Americans.
“There are several moments in a country’s history that chart its course indelibly for the future. For Asian Americans, that moment is now,” he said.
“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, invisiblize us or see us, because you may consider us 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.”
During the House Judiciary Committee hearing on violence and discrimination against Asian Americans, Kim said it is essential to teach Asian American history to children, including the legacy of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most decorated unit of its size in military history made up of Asian Americans fighting during World War II.
He also urged support for U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono’s bill to track hate crimes targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The legislation assigns a point person at the Department of Justice to expedite the review of hate crimes and work with state and local law enforcement in response efforts.
McKinley High School graduate and Illinois U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth also addressed the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
She said while action is needed to protect them, nothing will provide solace to the families of those targeted in the deadly shooting in Atlanta.
“What we can say and should say clearly, unambiguously, is that blaming the AAPI community for a public health crisis is racist and wrong and continuing to treat our fellow Americans as others only further divides our country at a time when we should be pushing, pulling, tugging at our nation with all our might until it lives up to its founding ideals of equality and justice for all,” Duckworth said.
The Iraq war veteran is also the first Thai American woman elected to Congress.
Meanwhile, Gov. David Ige ordered that the U.S. flag and Hawaii state flag will be flown at half-staff at the state Capitol, all state offices and the Hawaii National Guard until sunset on March 22 to honor the victims in the Atlanta shooting.
“I know the people of Hawaii join me in honoring the lives of the eight people killed and another wounded in Georgia this week and in sending our aloha to the families of all those killed or wounded in this senseless act of violence,” Ige said, in a statement. “That six of the victims were women of Asian descent is particularly appalling, and I condemn all violence based on race or ethnicity. It is our kuleana to stop the rising tide of hate crimes against people of Asian descent.”
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