"Over the past few days," wrote Olivia Munn on February 10, "I’ve found myself at a loss for words at the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes. The racist, verbal and physical assaults have left my community fearful to step outside. These hate crimes have spiked since COVID and continue to increase even though we ask for help, even though we ask our fellow Americans to be outraged for us, even though we ask for more mainstream media coverage. To simply exist as a minority in this country is seen as a protest to some. We need help amplifying the outrage. We need help to feel safe in our country. We need help to be safe in our country."
While she felt at "a loss for words," Olivia Munn's words are everything. Writing on Instagram, before the murders in Atlanta, Munn -- along with many others -- identified the increase in violence for what it is, underlined what's at stake, and asked for support.
What happened in Atlanta ignited the attention of the rest the nation and the world, including media. The history of this racist trauma is long and deep. This history is intersectional, violent, and painful. It's bolstered by media, and by political and educational institutions. It's history that is ever present.
The Visiting Filmmakers Series and Film at Mason support our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community members. We are outraged, and we are committed to amplifying the outrage. We must work against racism, to be aware and to create awareness of its many contexts and effects.
But it's not enough to be aware. We can speak out, we can intervene. Artists have a particular part in this work. We respond to and shape our cultures, often at the same time. In our lives and in the stories we tell, we can be anti-racist, actively, persistently, and effectively. We can work to make everyone feel safe.