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Letters to the Editor: My widowed mother was a victim of anti-Asian hate. This is how you can help

A woman holds signs. One reads, "End white supremacy now!"
People demonstrate against the rise in hate-motivated violence against Asian Americans at an event in Alhambra on March 21.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Last month, the Los Angeles Times published an article about the racist letter my mother received shortly after my father’s funeral. Since then, I have been asked to speak at a number of rallies. This is my message.

From the lynchings in Chinatown in the 1871, to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, to the beating and death of Vincent Chin in 1982, to the murder of six Asian American women at their places of work weeks ago, Asian American and Pacific Islander hate crimes have been committed in this country for far too long.

On the day of my father’s funeral, a neighbor of my mother sat down to write her a letter that celebrated my dad’s death and threatened her, telling her to “pack your bags and go back to your country.” Every Asian person I know has heard this taunt.

For almost 200 years, we have built the railroads, worked in the sugarcane fields and labored on the farms of this country. We have paid taxes, built businesses, served in the military and voted (but only since 1952, when we were finally granted this right).

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This is our country. We are Americans.

Since my family came forward to share this painful incident, so many people have asked us, “What can we do to help you?”

You can come out in condemning AAPI discrimination and intolerance — the jokes, the slurs, the threats and the violence.

You can support funding for community initiatives that encourage Asian Americans to report hate crimes and programs that offer information in multiple languages, as well as translators and counseling.

You can frequent your neighborhood Asian-owned stores. So many immigrants came to this country for the American dream, and that meant putting their life savings into a small business that they work at for 12 to 16 hours each day, just as my parents did.

Finally, you can and must stand with your Black, Latino, LGBTQ and other oppressed neighbors — because when any of us has our right to live freely and safely threatened, the entire foundation of this country is shaken.

Claudia Choi, Los Angeles


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