Earlier this month I published 6 of my COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma portraits in the International Examiner’s special BIG issue. This week, I published 7 additional portraits in the South Seattle Emerald. It’s been really special to see the images get out there and do their work providing anti-racist counter narratives during the pandemic. I continue to be deeply grateful for the community members who have allowed me to share their images and stories. There’s more though! In total, I’ve actually photographed 21 portrait sets, so keep you eye out of the others…
The Covid-19 pandemic has not brought about racism and inequity, it has exposed it. Our Government has failed us. Our Police have oppressed us. Our School District only shames us. Our fighting is nothing new. There is a long history of activism in so many Communities of Color. I have been inspired by those who came before us, who have laid the path for us to walk on. We as an ENTIRE COMMUNITY OF COLOR must stand alongside each other, take the baton, and SPRINT for change.KERT LIN
Trigger warning: mention of murder
On Monday, George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was horrifically killed by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Bystanders begged Chauvin to stop as fellow officer Tou Thao, an Asian man, watched and did nothing. Outrage and protests have swept across the nation at the loss of yet another Black life to state violence, especially in the midst of a pandemic that is already disproportionately claiming Black lives. Meanwhile, the image of officer Thao being willfully complicit in Floyd’s murder has blatantly reminded Asian Americans that though we are facing increased hate for Covid-19, we still have to confront the dangerous anti-blackness running rampant in our communities. At a time when we need to come together more than ever, it’s devastating to see racism, violence, and death getting louder instead. Please, please do better everyone. Precious, invaluable human lives are at stake. You can help by sharing. Thank you.
I am Chinese Korean AmericanKert
I am Seattle
I am more than just me
I am part of this community
My name is Kert Lin. I was born and raised in Seattle…both Seattles. I went to elementary school in the Central District, then went to middle and high school in the North End. I went from the top of the class to barely staying afloat. I knew that was when I wanted to work with youth in ignored communities. That journey has led me back to become a teacher in the very classroom I sat in. For far too long, we have been ignored, brushed aside and undervalued. I strict to listen to, understand, advocate for and ultimately empower our community.
[Kert recently made Seattle headlines after being subjected to a racist tirade by three men outside Home Depot. Store management and police did nothing. When I asked him to participate in this campaign he swiftly agreed and showed up for photographs with a homemade George Floyd face mask.]
This moment in time is similar to Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. We are witnessing the expansion of the caste system of wellness in the US. We have to BE the community we need and support each other.TRACY L. STEWART
The US has been willfully slow collecting racial data on the coronavirus but what’s been uncovered keeps painting a bleak picture. Black people are 4 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 and 3.5 times more likely to die from it than white people. Too many Americans are blaming Black people for dying from the virus (for having diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) and failing to take into account the racism that made African Americans more vulnerable to infection in the first place. Meanwhile, a Louisiana police officer made headlines this week after posting on Facebook it was “unfortunate” all African Americans weren’t killed by the pandemic. He was fired. Apparently, it can’t be said enough: BIAS AND HATE WILL NOT BEAT COVID BUT COMING TOGETHER WILL. Discrimination is making the pandemic worse. You can help. Please share. Thank you.
i am in collectiveTracy
i am helping fox to stay safe
May all beings be well and safe
Pictured: Tracy L. Stewart is an engaged Buddhist, mental health therapist, and co-director of Gathering Roots Retreat and Wellness Center. She believes that all BIPOC folx need safe spaces for wellness and witnessing. Gathering Roots, in partnership with Covid-19 Mutuail Aid Seattle has been making free masks for health, grocery, shelter and all kinds of workers and community. The collective has sewn and distributed hundreds of masks to the community since the beginning of the first US outbreak in King County, Washington.
COVID-19 Safety Not Stigma is in the International Examiner! The International Examiner has serviced the API community for almost 50 years and is the only media that provides free community-based Asian Pacific Islander news in Washington State. Covid has been really tough on this historic publication. Ad revenues were slashed with event cancellations and the IE was not able to publish a regular print issue in April. So, for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, they’re holding a very special fundraiser. If you donate $100 or more, you will get a limited edition BIG ISSUE mailed to you with tons of cool print content (including my photo essay!). Please consider making a donation, uplifting API representation, and supporting community journalists like me. THANK YOU SO MUCH
Support the ID – Community United has been such a beacon to me during the pandemic. Seeing thousands of folks show up, on and then offline, to support small POC-owned business (and flower farmers!) has warmed my heart more than I can say. It was an honor to write this piece for the South Seattle Emerald featuring interviews with cofounders Bill Tashima and Sarah E Baker. Thank you Bill and Sarah for everything you do! And thanks to all the members of Support the ID- Community United for the incredible support you give!!! 💖
A man followed the Chinese-American doctor from the Boston hospital, spewing a profanity-laced racist tirade as she walked to the subway. “Why are you Chinese people killing everyone?” Li recalled the man shouting. “What is wrong with you? Why the f— are you killing us?”TRACY JAN for the Washington Post
Yesterday, journalist Tracy Jan published a poignant story in the Washington Post about racism Asian American doctors and nurses have been facing on the frontlines of the pandemic. Healthcare workers report patients insulting them or refusing to be seen by them, then being followed when they leave work to go home. And this is just a snapshot of what Asian Americans continue to face across the nation. Others report being spat on, subjected to racial slurs, shunned for wearing masks, or even assaulted. IMPACT Bay Area is offering online trainings for AAPI folks to help us stay safe during racist harassment.The 90-minute classes introduce skills like adrenaline management, de-escalation, and verbal boundary setting, as well as bystander intervention. Upcoming classes are tonight May 20 (register here) and Sun May 31 (register here), at 6:30p PST. Registration required. You can help. Please share. Thank you.
I am strong.Vic
I am Asian American.
I am resilient.
Pictured: Vic was born and raised on Seattle/Duwamish land, by a family of Teochew-Hakka Chinese boat refugees from Vietnam. She is a deeply curious human who is trying to make her first lo-fi song using Teochew and Hakka dialects of Chinese. Vic just finished watching Naruto Shippuden (500 episodes) and is mining Shonen/Shoujo anime for transformative justice lessons.
Today an order by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine goes into effect mandating that all Seattle and King County residents wear face coverings over their mouth and noses while inside businesses or public transit. Face coverings must also be worn outside where social distancing isn’t possible. In many Asian countries (like Taiwan where my family is from), mask-wearing for health and safety has long been a cultural norm. But how will Americans deal with this unfamiliar new normal?
Systemic oppression is always there, but it usually goes on unnoticed, like the humming sound from the fridge or heater –– it’s in the background. COVID-19 brings racism to the foreground and exposes existing inequities. I’m hoping as people feel angered by the racist incidents, that we would also look into the structures that uphold racism and inequities and work to take them down, so that the world after the pandemic can be truly transformed.NIKKI CHÂU
On Monday, President Trump snapped at Chinese American reporter Weijia Jiang during a press conference, telling her she “should ask China” her question. The same day, rock star Bryan Adams posted a xenophobic rant to Instagram, “Thanks to some bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bastards, the whole world is now on hold.” Increased racist rhetoric is leading to increased violence. People of Asian descent around the world are reporting more attacks, beatings, and violent bullying. In Canada, three assaults in eight days targeted Asian women wearing masks. One sociologist at the University of Manchester has begun studying “maskaphobia,” discrimination and racism against people wearing face masks. We can fight this racism with counternarratives and positive images like the ones here. You can help. Please share. Thank you.
I am resourcefulNikki
I am versatile
I am joyful
I am ever-changing
I am impatient
Pictured: “Nikki” Châu, or Châu Ngọc Trân, is a child of the Phạm, Trần, and Châu families, a child of the foggy hills of the K’Ho, Churu, and Maa peoples, and a child of the waterways of Central Việt Nam that connect to the Coast Salish via the Pacific Ocean. Nikki is dedicated to the lifelong work of learning and advocating for a world without systemic, interpersonal, and internalized violence. She has worked in UX Design and teaching yoga. She is an avid fan of xianxia, cats, durian, and instant noodle.
Throughout this coronavirus pandemic it’s been hard for me to feel positive about anything. I’m deeply frustrated with inadequate government response and the refusal of so many Americans to follow safety protocols. But THEN I have the chance to be on the ground and follow incredible grassroots efforts like Solidarity Flowers that provide covid relief by/for our local communities of color. And I feel a gazillion times better. Shout out to all the folks on the ground who don’t wait for inequitable US systems to protect their communities and take survival/resilience into their own hands–as they always have.
Eventually, the country will force all of us to ‘reopen’ and, as it does, police will be more empowered than ever to stop and brutalize black and brown people…On the one side, Covid-19 will be waiting to kill us in even greater disproportion to white folks than it is now. On the other? Our alpha predator, the American police officer.ELIE MYSTAL for the Nation
Outcries have erupted across the nation after a video emerged last week of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder by a former white police officer and his adult son while Arbery was jogging in February. On Tuesday, a new study was released showing African Americans may be dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate than any other group in the US. Meanwhile, police officers in New York were spotted kindly handing out masks in the West Village (a predominantly white neighborhood) while a Black man was brutally beaten in East Village for allegedly not social distancing. This pandemic is amplifying and exacerbating the racism that was already so rampant here. Re-opening will not make inequity magically disappear. You can help. Please share. Thank you.
I am the lightfrom “I am the light” by Robin Pandey
I am the darkness
I may sparkle you
And enlighten you in a fraction of a second
Pictured: Damithia is a mother, daydreamer, thought-thinker educator, yoga teacher, plant lover, cloud watcher, sun lover, liberators path seeker. She is the founder of Thrive Yoga which provides movement mindfulness and healing centered restorative practices to youth in schools and community. She works with Yoga Behind Bars as a trauma informed yoga training facilitator and is co-chair of the board of trustees for Space Between.