Letter to the editor: We must unite against anti-Asian hate crimes


Attacks on Asian-Americans are on the rise. Among the targets are elders in the community. It’s happening across the country, and locally as well.

King County prosecutors have already filed five hate crime charges so far this year —two of them were targeted against Asian-Americans.

(See the KIRO 7 story here.)

On Jan. 25, one woman in Seattle was pushed while in a crosswalk at East Denny Way and Bellevue. According to court documents, a person said to her, “Asian people need to be put in their place.”

Another incident was in West Seattle on Jan. 26, where a man pointed a realistic-looking airsoft gun at an Asian woman and yelled, “Go back to your country.”

Locally, my 83-year-old mother-in-law was also told to “Go back to your country” while walking on the street in Edmonds. She retired from the Seattle School District, has lived in the Seattle area for the past 50 years of her life, including the most recent 15 years in Edmonds. She answered with smile on her face: “The United States is my country; this is my home”.

While I believe most Edmonds citizens are tolerant and inclusive, all instances of hate crimes have to stop, including ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes fueled by anti-Asian rhetoric about the pandemic. Back in March of 2020, I posted an article on My Edmonds News to point out that the proper name for this virus is COVID-19, and not China virus or Chinese Flu or Kung Flu.  Words matter, and leaders at the national or local level using words suggesting certain ethnicities are at fault for the current pandemic encourages racist behavior.  We need to resist those suggestions and work even harder toward tolerance and respect.

Now, I am submitting this article to MEN to call for unity and to encourage our community to stop all hate crimes against all ethnicities. We must unite ourselves and remember most of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. We are here because of the freedom and opportunities that this land promised and continues to promise. We must unite and work together to protect that promise, embrace equity in words and in action, and focus our energy in building communities and relationships. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Darkness cannot drive out darknessonly light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hateonly love can do that.” Each one of us can be a light for our community and be the salt to melt away hate!

Will Chen




  1. Thanks, Will.
    For well over 120 years Asian Americans have contributed to the growth, success, livability and character of the Pacific Northwest. Not only should discrimination be eliminated, but our community would greatly benefit from the welcoming inclusion of our Asian citizens and their profound cultures.

  2. What people need to remember is this pandemic has been an ecological crisis from the very beginning, a result of our inability or unwillingness to abide by the laws and rules of nature.

    Because of this, we’re guaranteed to see more epidemics and pandemics down the road by more novel pathogens that get unleashed.

    It’s been a sheer miracle of God that something like covid didn’t clobber us decades ago, that we went on this long.

    Well, our incredibly good fortune has run out.

    Covid began in China. The next pandemic from a novel virus or bacteria may very well begin right here in the US. We have a lot of the perfect ingredients to create the perfect storm for a deadly pandemic to occur.

    In fact, the 1918 flu pandemic did indeed start in the US.

    Bottom Line: Nature ALWAYS bats last!

  3. Hi Will,

    I’m so sorry that this is still happening in our community. Sadly we still live in a culture where hate crimes and racism are common against many minorities, including my own (Jewish ancestry). Keep working to light the darkness.

  4. The repetition of the “Chinese virus” has caused many people to believe that individuals of Asian heritage are guilty of bringing it to America. Please realize that you were led to focus your anger on innocent people for a reason. and one of them was to distract you from the dealing with the problem.

    1. China is not a race. We have to be able to say “Chinese” when we are talking about a virus that is all but proven to have come from a lab in Wuhan. The Uighar people, for example, typically do no pass (are not immediately recognizable) as Asian, but they are Chinese. China is a country, and conflating the country and a race are an issue.

  5. The nail salon (not naming which one) that was threatened [with gun violence] here in town, and the dismissal of the incident by the Edmonds Diversity Committee, the EPD, the Mayor (et all), is probably the most racist incident here in town in a long while. It happened to be against our Asian Community.

  6. I would also encourage Asian Americans to refrain from using their race to excuse certain behaviors. We had neighbors who were being excessively noisy and when confronted, they replied, “you don’t understand Chinese people, we are very noisy.” We expressed that we did in fact know many Chinese people who are respectful of their neighbors and are capable of being quiet.

    Our issue with them had nothing to do with race until they decided to blame their disrespectful behavior on it. I really don’t understand the obsession with race lately. Bad behavior is bad behavior and has nothing to do with a person’s race.

  7. Thank you so much, Mr. Chen, for writing the article and speaking up against racist hate crimes. We must unite against hated crimes & violence. Edmonds stands for unity, mutual respect, justice, and peace for all!

  8. Excellent points Matt and Dorian. Morgan Freeman so eloquently said in an interview with Mike Wallace…you end racism when you stop talking about it all the time and stop identifying people by the color of their skin.

    Unfortunately, some people are ignorant and act out this way to anyone who looks different from them, but this is the exception not the norm. Also to Matt’s point, the Covid-19 Virus originated in China and was hidden by the CCP. That does not mean that the Chinese people are to blame. The majority of Chinese citizens live under a totalitarian regime that abuses their fundamental human rights every day. When one refers to Covid-19 as the China Virus or the CCP Virus they are referring to the country or place it originated in (Spanish Flu, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, etc), not the innocent people who live there. It’s a reference to a country or Government or an animal, not a people.

    People aren’t conducting hate crimes on Asians because people call the Covid-19 virus the CCP or China Virus. They are doing this for the same reason they do it to others who are different from them, because they are ignorant and only see people’s outside differences, not the true character of who they are on the inside. As I said before…these are isolated incidents that are not the norm of what happens around here. So please, let’s stop playing the victim card every time something like this happens. Let’s focus our attention and bring to light the great contributions you and other POC make to our community and how important it is to have you a part of it. The other type of rhetoric only seeks to divide, point fingers and place blame.

    1. Rod, there is a major uptick of crime against our Asian citizens. Like I said, even the Edmonds Diversity Committee failed to properly respond to the threats made on the Nail Salon. Alicia Crank, operating under her own volition, actually criticized the victims of the threats, saying they sort of brought it onto themselves by calling the police. They were threatened with gun violence because they were Asian. I thought the community repose to the Colonial Pantry fire was relatively muted, especially compared the the fire at Black Coffee.

      There are no Trump supporters or anti-maskers in cities like San Francisco, and it’s in these places that anti-Asian crimes are getting the worst.

      Like you’re pointing out, China is a nation. China [the nation] was testing bat-human virus transmissibility in the same city that the virus originated. China didn’t properly communicate the threat or share data when they lost control of this. The country should be held accountable.

  9. I came across the KIRO story Will Chen referenced this morning on another thread. I tried to find a breakdown of the crime demographic from the sources cited in the Bay Area, which seems to be the current epicenter of the anti-Asian racism. It seems to be one of the many things California is exporting. 85% of all violent crime in the Bay Area area is Asian-victim, non-white attacker.

    The videos shown in the KIRO story seems to affirm this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.