It’s May. It’s Asian Islander Heritage Month. Do you care?
You should. In fact, there’s a protest today that is ready made for the month.
It’s at San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday, May 4 (today) @ 6pm to Stop Violence Against the Asian American community.
No one is saying the recent rash of incidents on Muni are hate crimes yet, but they do come close enough for concern, especially if you are an Asian American living in the Bay View and Visitation Valley.
But take the race out of some of these cases in San Francisco and what do you get? A woman in her 50s, a man in his 80s.
That doesn’t sound like race is as big a factor to me. I don’t think the perps would pick a fight with Bruce Lee III. Jet Li Jr. or Michelle Yeoh.
The Muni perps are cowards who prey on the weak. We’re not talking race war. We’re talking about the need for security on the streets and public transportation for all people.
So it’s not a race war, or a hate crime. So what?
Let’s call it a “tragic coincidence.” It’s still violence against Asians on Muni and throughout Northern California, that needs to be addressed aggressively by public officials. And it’s a reminder that no matter how many Asian faces are on the SF Board of Supes, we still haven’t outgrown AAPI Month.
Frankly, most of the time, I’m ready to give up on the month.
For example, before today, did any one greet you with a happy AAPI Month hug? Karate chop? Any Hallmark cards? If you follow me at www.twitter.com/emilamok, I did tweet an AAPI Month greeting.
Still, if it weren’t for the upcoming Asian Street fair, most AAPI celebrations would be some lame, boring, governmental affair at the Federal building or City Hall. AAPI Month is the law, after all. All federal agencies and government bodies have to celebrate it, or else. It’s a little like a shotgun wedding.
But because it’s the law, it literally would take an act of Congress to rid ourselves of it.
So when I think we no longer need an AAPI Month, I think of Huan Chen, the 83 year old Muni rider beaten and killed in the Bay View in January. It makes me think of the now legendary case of Vincent Chin, the Chinese American mistaken for Japanese and beaten to death in Detroit in 1982.
And then I’m reminded how AAPI Month isn’t just for us. It’s for all of us, especially the non-Asians who have no clue of the past.
AAPI Month is not a separatist movement. It was born out of protest over being excluded, and has always been a passionate call for inclusion. It’s about letting people know our issues and that we belong in our country—America.
Let people know at the SF City Hall protest today that the outrage continues.