I recited this poem at Sit Walk Listen's #StopAsianHate event in front of San Francisco's City Hall on March 21. May the six Asian women killed from anti-Asian racism and violence in Atlanta this past week rest in peace. May we, the living, find healing and space for our grief. And may we re-dedicate ourselves every day to a more just and peaceful world.
In this sunflower Asian skin
I do not know where to begin
Shall we start with assimilation
That saw ancestral languages lost and
the whitewashing of culture — all to fit in?
Shall we talk of stereotypes that cast us into roles
Model minority, docile, submissive, never quite whole
kung fu, karate, communist scum,
Evil, the enemy, now the latest victims
White supremacy pervasive in so many forms
“a sex addict having a bad day”, a virus China born
our women exoticized and objectified in porn
our elders attacked in the streets, and yet
Who is there to mourn?
How can I talk of pain when my face is invisible
In this black and white binary,
Yellow sunflowers growing sideways
and through the cracks miss-able.
In Atlanta the police say no hate crime
But I see hate and a crime in the facts irresistible
Six Asian women across three massage parlors
killed by one white man.
Is that evidence inadmissible?
If the words “hate crime” are not spoken aloud,
Who will remember or make visible?
Are we to be exploited, erased, and shamed
In this nation, indivisible?
Today I grieve and allow my pain to be seen
Not swept under the rug like so many things
I stand in this public square and I sing
for it is my sacred offering.