Shortly after the Atlanta massacre, in which a total of eight people were killed, six of them Asian women, the son of one of the victims was confronted with another harsh reality: he had no money to bury his mother.
In the midst of the mourning, he thought to open an account on GoFundMe, a platform that raises money from the public for a variety of reasons, to cover the $20,000 he needed.
What happened was unprecedented. About 70,000 people donated. The amount by late Sunday had reached almost three million dollars!
“To put it bluntly, I can't believe you guys exist. People I will probably never meet, hear, nor express my thanks to. This is simply a change in my life … I will live the rest of my days grateful for what has essentially given my family a second chance.”
What is this all about?
The public believes that what happened in Atlanta was very unjust to immigrant women whose only ‘crime’ was that they struggled and worked ceaselessly to care for their families. And those that donated wanted to do something to demonstrate their connection with the mourning.
I now think that, after so many massacres that have taken place in this country, we all feel, to some degree, a sense of guilt that we are not doing anything to prevent these shootings. We feel guilty that something so inhumane was committed by someone who was just twenty-one years old.
It is as if all of us, our whole society, have failed in our mission and we find the financial contributions to be a way to alleviate the feeling of guilt we feel.
I also believe that the largest percentage of the contributions came from Asians and more specifically, people from South Korea, where some of the female victims are from.
Asians in America are going through a difficult period again. They are living in fear. They are living under persecution. Elderly Asians are targets of random acts of violence. They feel as if they are not welcome in this country.
The reasons are many, the principal one being their amazing success in all areas, from academic to financial. See, for example, how often scientists commenting on the coronavirus on television are of Asian descent.
However, no one handed them this success in American society. They conquered it with their sweat. With very hard work.
Another reason is that they are being identified with China, where the coronavirus originated.
On the positive side, the country's leadership, and to a large extent society in general, has condemned in the clearest way what has happened and continues to happen in the U.S.
It would also be good if our Community’s organizations reacted to these attacks against our Asian compatriots. They should issue announcements as well as contact the respective Asian organizations to express their solidarity.