Guest column: Life after Asian hate crimes

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Graphic of layered faces in multiple colors, where blue smiles outwardly and purple is internally solemn.

Ahyen Labanan

Every moment of my day feels like I am in survival mode. Not only do I fear COVID-19, but I also fear for my safety as an Asian American woman in this country. 

This fear is something I am not used to sharing, but I will no longer be silent about it. 

Last year, my news feed was filled with headlines involving Asian hate crimes. I remember reading about Asian children being stabbed in a grocery store and elderly Asian people being randomly beaten. 

Today, elderly Asian people are still attacked and murdered. Asian women are still fetishized and murdered. 

The behavior of perpetrators is excused and people continue to be silent in the face of injustice.

Because of the rise in hate crimes, I’ve had to keep my guard up wherever I go. 

Everyday tasks such as going grocery shopping, filling up my car with gas and buying food have become stressful. I cannot leave my home without mentally preparing myself to face microaggressions or violence. 

A day does not go by where I don’t worry about the safety of my family and friends. It’s painful and frustrating. 

I am tired of being scared. I am tired of seeing people scared. 

No one should have to fear to exist in this country.