In a powerful and timely statement, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson reflected, “It is vital that the City of Dallas take leadership and stand in solidarity with its Asian residents and business owners to send a message that hate-motivated behavior or violence will not be tolerated.” I want us to take his statement one step further. It is on me and you – on all of us – to enact Mayor Eric Johnson’s words and stand united in solidarity to empower minority communities to feel comfortable and safe being their authentic self in our community.
There is too much hate around us. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) reports that there were over 7,000 hate crimes committed in the United States in 2019. Given that the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that only about 3% of hate crimes are actually reported to the FBI, it can be estimated that approximately a quarter million hate crimes took place in that year alone!
Earlier this month, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the City of Dallas Office of Equity and Inclusion convened a panel of leaders from our local American Asian Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community to talk about the current wave of hate against the AAPI community. Both overt acts of hate and more subtle expressions of intolerance like discrimination were discussed. Perhaps more importantly, panelists affirmed the need and opportunities to step up, support one another, and celebrate one of the most diverse communities in America. One panelist reflected, “We don’t need to suffer in silence. There are people willing to step up.”
Together, we can eradicate hate. Yet, there is a new dangerous game of comparative identity politics at play that instigates divisive and destructive tension and hierarchy between marginalized communities. Hate is always hate, and adversity is always adversity. Only together, uniting creed, religion, and ethnicity, can we fulfill the words of The Preamble of the Constitution and truly make a more perfect union.
About the Author: Joshua Yudkin currently serves on the ACCESS Board for AJC Dallas. He is an epidemiologist by training who was recently awarded a Fulbright research grant and works at the intersection of community building and public health.