The murder of George Floyd has caused a big shock to online and physical communities, bringing out into open how grave police brutality is to African-American people. While there has already been a lot of these inhumane cases, George Floyd’s death particularly impelled the group of Mandy Zhang, a rising junior at Walter Payton College Prep, to establish the Dear Asians Initiative.
Dear Asians Initiative was born of the frustration to attend to the lack of understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement and its protests. Mandy and her friends resorted to writing a letter as their way of addressing this. What started out as one letter that was supposed to be translated into Chinese turned into numerous translations, with help from different people across the nation recruited through social media.
Mandy’s group has been aware of the prevalence of anti-Blackness within their predominantly Asian community and how it goes both ways. They hope to bring about a change and convince their community to use their privilege to speak out through writing letters.
At present, they have 12 translated letters up on the Dear Asians Initiative website. The volunteers share a Google folder where all the letters are located and then have at least two of them work on each letter. Their organization is accepting new volunteers who are interested in translating, working on social media posts, or community outreach. Those who want to join this cause can submit their application to https://bit.ly/2YZZOqe.
Due to their continued social media efforts, many have been impacted by their organization. They have also been featured in news outlets such as NBC and Voice of America, Thai service. Their goal of bridging the gap between Asian and Black communities by encouraging meaningful conversations between them through the translated letters is gradually coming about. With this initiative, sending love and support for Black Lives now knows no barriers.
By actively engaging in conversations, people begin to acknowledge that there is a problem in the justice system and that it’s possible to work alongside the Black Lives Matter movement to bring about structural change for all minority groups. “We really want to stress that change starts out small, and we have to start in our communities. These uncomfortable conversations will prompt change to occur” Mandy says in an interview.
Dear Asians Initiative presents everyone a chance to voice out both their grievances and solidarity with Black Lives. Take a shot by writing that letter.