“To be Asian in America during the time of coronavirus is to feel very alone,” Cathy Park Hong writes in the New York Times. In her piece, Hong, the author of the new and already widely acclaimed essay collection Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, reflects on the systemic racism against Asian Americans and how this pandemic has painfully brought it into the light. She recounts the many attacks that have taken place over the past few months, mostly in Europe and the United States, including people spitting on Asian men and women, and one person burning an Asian woman in Brooklyn with what’s believed to be acid. “I am enraged,” Hong writes.
Hong is one of the panelists speaking this Thursday in a Zoom talk titled “Addressing Prejudices Against Asian Americans During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” It is the first event in the series Racism is a Public Health Issue, co-presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); GYOPO, a coalition of diasporic Korean cultural producers; and StopDiscriminAsian (SDA), an initiative formed in urgent reaction to the upsurge in violence against Asians and Asian Americans. Christine Y. Kim, a LACMA curator of contemporary art, will introduce the Thursday event (starting 4pm PST), and Kibum Kim, co-director of the gallery Commonwealth and Council, will moderate the conversation.
The group of panelists is impressive, and is bound to offer some much-needed perspective. In addition to Hong, you’ll get to hear from Jeff Chang, the vice president for Narrative, Arts, and Culture at Race Forward; Russell Jeung, the chairperson of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University; actor/comedian Bowen Yang (currently on the staff of Saturday Night Live); and artist Anicka Yi. Each will speak of their personal experiences and what they have learned through their art and activism.
“It’s important to unpack issues and concerns with depth and specificity,” said Christine Y. Kim over email. She stresses that the series will look at how the pandemic has “impacted marginalized groups including Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, as well as South and Southeast Asian.”
This is an excellent opportunity to hear from great cultural thinkers who will examine the economic and racial inequalities that have come into public view during this devastating crisis.
When: Thursday, May 7, 4–5:30 pm (PST)
Where: Via Zoom
More info at LACMA
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the GYOPO was formed during the pandemic. GYOPO was founded in 2016 and recently created a COVID Response effort.