How a mom on TikTok, Ken Jeong and the San Francisco Fire Department responded to AAPI hate and violence
In addition to fire department patrols in San Fran’s Chinatown, the actor donated to victims and conversations were started with youth about the issue.
It is difficult enough to be dealing with racism and xenophobia as an Asian-American, especially during these tumultuous times of increased violence and harassment — but talking to one’s children about these issues is an added challenge.
Jane Park, a Korean-American mother of two, aged 5 and 7, figured out the perfect way to overcome the obstacle of this often uncomfortable conversation, especially when it comes to young children.
In a viral TikTok video, this brave and insightful mom shared a video of her discussion with her children with her 3 million followers.
In the video, Park gives her children a “sight word test,” in which she holds up pieces of paper with words on them and they are instructed to speak each word out loud.
“Ready for another sight word test?,” Park begins, looking straight at her children, who are not visible in the video. “There’s a message in this one, so I want you to think about it,” she says.
As she shows her kids each piece of paper, the viewer hears them speaking two sentences: “stop Asian hate,” and “hate is a virus.”
Initially, one of the children mispronounces the word virus, and Park corrects them, making sure that they can say the word right and that they understand the definition.
“Why would we call hate a virus,” she asks, prompting their young minds to think critically.
I’m incredibly thankful to have a platform I can use in this way. Thank you @yasminv for having me. Thank you @ProducerKat (my fellow @MedillSchool alum) for thinking to reach out. #StopAsianHate https://t.co/t4snsehvoh
— Jane Park (@janeparkang) March 21, 2021
“Because viruses infect people,” one of the kids replied.
Park then asked her children if they believe that hate can also infect people, to which they replied: “mmhm.”
She then gradually gets more serious with her words, speaking to her kindergarten and second grade aged children as if they were adults. She reminds them of previous discussions they have had about the recent violence towards Asian-Americans, asking them how the news had made them feel.
“Sad. because they killed people. They killed Asian people,” one child responded.
Park then used a comforting yet matter-of-fact tone of voice to tell her children that it’s important to talk about it and build awareness, because “some people might not know what’s going on.”
After her video went viral, she spoke to TODAY Parents about why she posted the video.
“[My son] saw me reacting to the news, so given the climate and the rise in anti-Asian racism, I did address it and tell him,” Park explained. “I said, ‘you know, the victims were Asian-American and they could have been an aunt, a grandmother.’”
family of grandmother xiao zhen xie, the 75-year-old who fought back after an unprovoked attack in SF has raised almost $900K. following her wishes, they’ll be donating it all back to support AAPI community to fight racism. https://t.co/mAwSPU3WDl pic.twitter.com/njTkYKBRJg
— Evy Kwong (@EVYSTADIUM) March 23, 2021
In a longer version of the video that Park posted on Instagram, she wrote a caption that emphasized the need for parents to have these types of discussions with their children.
“In the three short months of 2021, I’ve had more difficult conversations with my kids than I ever had with my own parents. It breaks my heart to have them, and I don’t know what the right way is, except to falter and be awkward, and try to process together,” Park said.
She finished with a statement encouraging other Asian-American parents to follow her lead, even though it’s not easy.
“Let us better equip our kids for the world they will inherit and shape.”
Park used a powerful form of activism — having relevant discussions with future generations that will shape the future of our society. But comedian and actor Ken Jeong, felt compelled to reach into his wallet and put his well-earned money to good use.
Jeong, the Detroit native, born from two South Korean immigrants, was devastated by the brutal shooting rampage that occurred last week in Atlanta, Georgia.
In response, he donated $50,000 to the families of five Asian victims who lost their lives as a result of the shooting.
The 51-year-old Crazy Rich Asians star made five separate donations, each worth $10,000, to the GoFundMe campaigns for the victims’ families, according to NBC.
Jeong took to Twitter to share some of the fundraising campaigns, and posted a video of himself and other Asian-American actors, such as Lou Diamond Phillips and Keiko Agena.
“Stop the pandemic of hate,” the actor urges his fanbase in the video.
He commended one of the show’s writers, Karen Chee, after she was featured in a segment that addressed the Atlanta shootings, according to a report by The Independent.
“Asian-American women are two times as likely to be assaulted in America. This was clearly a hate crime,” Jeong said.
The Bay Area in California has been experiencing an overwhelming amount of hate crimes, mainly in their Chinatown neighborhood.
Current and former members of the San Francisco Fire Department are volunteering to help end anti-Asian violence in their city.
On Sunday, March 21, an Asian woman, identified only as Clarisse, was walking home from church, when three unidentified suspects approached her and attempted to steal her purse.
Refusing to let them steal from her, she was punched in the face three times.
As her attackers tried to escape, she hung onto their getaway car and was dragged down to the street. Clarisse eventually let go and nearby witnesses helped her out.
Clarisse’s attack left her with several cuts and scrapes, bruises on her right arm and near her right eye. In a shocking twist, after she recovered, she only had messages of love and healing for her unknown assailants.
“Know that you’re loved, know people are there to help you. I know it’s hard now but we need to get back and have people in work and school so they are predictively occupied and don’t feel like they need to do things,” Clarisse told Lim.
A few days after, off-duty firefighters began patrolling San Francisco’s Chinatown for the first time, alongside the SF Police and Sheriff’s Departments.
“While we don’t want them to act on criminal activity, we do want everyone to be safe, to keep the members of the community safe, and to watch out for the elderly and vulnerable,” Sheriff Paul Miyamoto told KPIX.
Aside from surveying the streets, the team of volunteers will be handing out cards with a brand new tip line to help Chinese-speaking residents report incidents of discrimination and violence.
On Monday, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association, Shaw San Lium, spoke in front of hundreds of people gathered in Portsmouth Square, Chinatown for a rally.
— Cornell Barnard (@CornellBarnard) March 20, 2021
“We need to fight racism, economic inequality and sexism/gender-based violence with effective community-based solutions if we are to achieve true safety for our communities,” Liu said.