SEATTLE — Rallies and a show of support for Asian Americans sprang up Saturday across our region, as individuals shared stories of the racism that is a regular feature of their lives.
A memorial to the victims in Atlanta is growing outside the Seattle Art Museum, and it is helping give voice to Asian Americans who say they live with the scourge of racism every day of their lives.
It was short walk up the stairs to the Seattle Asian Art Museum, but it has taken Renee Yoshimura a lifetime of enduring slurs to get there.
“Oh, around here, yeah,” said Yoshimura. “In my neighborhood, in my community, out for a run, out shopping.”
So she laid flowers at the memorial to the six Asian women killed in Atlanta and the countless others, men and women, who have endured hate in this country that is their home, too.
“We thought this small gesture would help in bringing some notice and attention and get on the path of healing,” she said.
Rallies against hate popped up all across the Puget Sound on this National Day of Action.
The small gathering at Westlake Park drew Tony Kim, a Korean immigrant, who gave an impassioned speech.
“If there’s violence against us, if we are being attacked, we are going to stand up and fight for us just like everybody else,” he thundered.
He told KIRO 7 the embers of racism against Asians have long existed, but the coronavirus and the former president fueled the fire.
“And then it just kind of gave people room, a basis to be like, ‘Hey, it’s OK to take this Asian racism thing further and further and further,’” he said. “And it snowballed into this whole thing where it’s not just microaggressions anymore.”
It is taking an increasingly violent turn and inspired those who have never before protested to take a stand, too.
Hao Tran waved a Stop Asian Hate sign along Fourth Avenue. He says this moment feels different from any other.
“Yeah, yeah,” Tran said. “Because I feel like I am actually like helping make a change, a big change.”
Anyone who wants to drop off flowers there can do so until 5 p.m. Sunday.
And others are taking action, too.
The volunteer group that patrols the Chinatown-International District is starting what they are calling a senior buddy program to escort older Asians who are too afraid to go out alone.