By Micah Grant, Op-Ed
Watching the recent guilty verdicts of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd left me with mixed emotions.
I thought the verdicts were more than justified and showed this nation is finally ready to hold officers accountable when they commit criminal acts while in the line of duty.
But the verdicts also showed that there is still much work to do to ensure that there is “liberty and justice,” for all in this country.
As a man of color, I have experienced my share of being unjustly pulled over by police. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been unnecessarily harassed by law enforcement simply because of the color of my skin. In fairness, I have to say that I’ve also had many, many positive experiences with many dedicated to serving our community as police officers.
This last year has also shown me that hate against people who don’t look like what we see when we look in the mirror isn’t limited to just African-Americans. Over the last several months we’ve seen far too many instances of hate against those in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities simply because they are of Asian descent.
In addition to the horrific killing of eight people (six of whom were Asian Americans) at three Atlanta-area massage parlors, there was another recent incident where an elderly Asian woman was assaulted while walking down a sidewalk in New York City.
There are far too many stories of Asian-owned businesses being vandalized simply because they are Asian-owned.
We’ve also seen examples in communities across the country of homes and cars of AAPI families being vandalized simply because of their race.
It’s time to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH to all forms of hate.
I encourage all of us to come together and participate in the nationwide #UnityAgainstHate Rally scheduled for May 15 at 11 a.m. This national event is currently scheduled to be held in 17 cities around the country, including seven locations in California – Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, San Matao, Garden Grove and Freemont.
I believe if we can all become more self-aware of the experiences of others who don’t look like us, we can all become more empathetic of those experiences. That empathy can then be used as the catalyst of change to end this type of verbal and physical hate that has been far too common-place in this country.
This rally, like the verdicts in the George Floyd murder, won’t solve the issue of hate in our country. But it is a start to put an end to hate and discrimination, not only against the AAPI communities, but any race, ethnicity, or gender who is experiencing hate.
Those wanting more information concerning the #UnityAgainstHate Rally are encouraged to visit: www.communityaginsthate.org.
Micah Grant is the Vice President of California Black Media and an elected board member of the Natomas Unified School District.