Standing Up Against Hate - Together

"I love you"... Today I woke up to this text from my best friend. Nothing else, just those words. 

So today, I'm sharing them with you - you who are taking the time to read this blog. I love you

The Ten Tomorrow Team has been mulling over how to address the recent hate crimes against Asians and the ongoing racism in this country. I, Summer (hi - it's me), decided TODAY IS THE DAY. I will write this blog from my heart...Unfiltered, honest, and with hope. 

With everything that has happened (and is still happening) - I have come to a stronger realization of one thing. We care. As a business, as a brand, as a team, as individuals - we care about it all. Most of the time it's beautiful - we care about our customers, our teammates, and the creative community. Sometimes it's heavy, BLM has personally lit my soul on fire and pushed me to care about things I never thought of before. And there's this moment right now....that feels...complicated? So all I can do is share my thoughts/feelings and my hope is that it will resonate with someone and make them feel better or be a catalyst for positivity somewhere. 

I can rattle off statistics about Hate Crimes against Asian Americans being on the rise in 2020 (based on reporting by NPR). Or I can bring up examples of how it's always been there. But, instead - I'd rather talk about why it's taken me so long to address it. I truly believe that's what I'm meant to share in this moment.

Art by (top: @asianamericancollective / @ourgardencollective / @the_female_lead || bottom: @morganharpernichols / @brennadoodles / @phoenixfeatherscalligraphy / @spiritdaughter)

I've been struggling with facing the racism happening against our own Asian community. I'm wondering if you are also feeling this internal conflict? 

Why am I SO engaged to add my voice to the fight against racism for the BLM Movement, but not when it's against Asians?

These are some of the thoughts that I've been battling:

  • Is it because I'm an Asian (Woman) and I've been hardwired to never complain or "cause trouble"? Is this why they call us "the quiet ones"? I was raised in a household to be strong, cry alone, and figure things out before asking for help. Is it me? Or this pressured onto me? 
  • Does it have to do with being Hawaii-born? I am grateful to live in a place where there are more people like me than not. Does this make me un-deserving to share my voice because I've had it so good here? Why does it feel like we need to earn something first?
  • Maybe I have never identified myself by race? Can race be fluid? I'm Japanese...but I'm American...but I'm also "local". My identity seems to change depending on where I am: I'm local when in Hawaii, I'm Japanese on the Mainland, and I'm American in Japan. Never have I said I'm "Asian American". 

I've been processing all these confusing thoughts (mostly alone of course) and today I realized:

I am 100% against hate and it's feeling closer now than ever.

And even though that makes me uncomfortable...I pledge to stand up, uplift others, and shine a light on hope. Together, we can ALL rise above this. 

I will continue to explore my struggle with identity and my anxiety to create noise when it comes to hate in my community. Today - I am challenging myself to speak up and be honest. Oh and I'm NOT alone...I am Asian American, I am part of this community. 

To my past self who was called "Wang" when I cut my hair short, to my customer who's mom got yelled at in a grocery store for being Asian, and to my friends in NYC who were terrified on the subway during the height of the pandemic...WE DESERVE BETTER, and it's ok to say that.

I refuse to retaliate hate with anger and more hate. I hope to live and lead an example of love and openness of diversity... To find the balance between being strong AND kind. To speak up while listening. To be a light for others while caring for myself. Change is happening - I'm excited to be a part of it. 

For those of you who need to hear it: I am with you. None of this is easy to process...and we might not be able to do it all...but I see you and I'm with you. We are not perfect, but we can continue to unite and push for respect and equality. 

Together the TT Team and I have built a work-in-progress RESOURCE GUIDE! You can find it HERE. Included are: directories for mental health specifically for AAPI, places to contribute/donate to, resources to read/listen/follow. 

Thank you for reading this VERY personal blog... just as much as I am here for you, I am grateful you're here for me. 

With SO MUCH LOVE,

Summer