Since this incident and as the anniversary of the Atlanta shootings draws near, I have been able to hold conversations with and create safe spaces for others who want to talk about this event. This type of mental and physical labor never feels easier as time goes on; it only becomes less challenging as I continue to unpack mine and others’ racial trauma.
2018 was a uniquely momentous year in Asian-American politics. For the first time in a long time, it felt like Asian-Americans were being elected outside of California. In New Jersey’s third congressional district, for example, Democrat and former Obama staffer Andy Kim won over long-time incumbent Tom MacArthur, who engineered the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and is closely aligned with President Trump. Republican Young Kim was poised to be the first Korean-American women in Congress, although the race was just called on Saturday for Democrat Gil Cisneros. Certainly, neither of these examples speak to a paradigmatic shift in the representation or enthusiasm of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in politics.
It has been over a year since the Student Assembly passed a resolution to introduce a new Asian American Studies major. You can see the profound progress we’ve made on the Fall 2017 Class Roster, where you will find a whopping two classes listed under the department. If progress doesn’t come in the form of AAS 2100: South Asian Diaspora and AAS 2620: Introduction to Asian American Literature, I don’t know what does. The dearth of courses on the Asian diaspora in America represents a larger issue facing Asian Americans today. We are silenced by the dominant culture, and we refuse to be silenced any longer.