We’re revisiting this letter from Shine co-founder Naomi Hirabayashi in the wake of Christina Yuna Lee’s death this month. Our hearts are with her family and with the AAPI members of our community. We encourage everyone to please offer yourself grace and give yourself space to take care of yourselves.

“I don't have any coherent thoughts today.” — Celeste Ng

I’ve been clutching to this tweet as I attempt to process the horrific anti-Asian hate crime that occurred last Tuesday. The horrific event that is representative of the nearly 150% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes since 2019, and took the lives of eight human beings:

Soon Chung Park, age 74

Hyun Jung Grant, age 51

Suncha Kim, age 69

Yong Yue, age 63

Delaina Ashley Yaun, age 33

Paul Andre Michels, age 54

Xiaojie Tan, age 49

Daoyou Feng, age 44

Coherent by definition is logical and consistent.

My emotions in response to Tuesday’s mass shooting exist on the other end of that spectrum.

My emotions are raw, disordered, vast, layered—and I know I’m not alone in this feeling.

As a fourth-generation (Yonsei) half-Japanese-American woman, I’m reflecting on how much I’ve invalidated experiences of racism throughout my life.

Your last name is so hard to pronounce.

Wait, you don’t speak Japanese?

You’re so exotic.

I thought you were supposed to be good at math.

You’re not like Asian Asian.

What are you?

With the problematic myth of the model minority—a myth that’s been perpetuated by white supremacy to create a racial wedge between marginalized communities—we’ve told ourselves our experiences are “minor feelings," as author Cathy Park Hong describes it in her book of the same title.

Today, instead of dismissing the hurt from racism, I’m validating the hurt.

I’m allowing my hurt to flow wildly, incoherently.

This week, I invite my AAPI family to do the same. I ask you to sit with me in whatever way you can and validate the experiences that have otherized you, your family, or your culture.

For me, that looks like getting intentional time on the phone with my brother and my father to try and verbalize the anger, the fear.

It also looks like reflecting on the generational trauma of my Japanese American family members who were deemed “dangerous enemy aliens.”

It means getting distance from people in my life who have not done the work.

It means space for stillness, for silence. And it also means sitting with the words of Jenny Wang, Ph.D., Michelle Kim, and Amanda Nguyễn, to name a few, to feel understood.

To our non-AAPI community: We hope you’ll join us below in learning about bystander intervention, the history of Anti-Asian racism in America, and what you can do to help us be seen, valued, and loved in the country we call home.

Mental health resources

Bridges: An organization that helps Asians, Pacific Islanders, South Asian Americans find connections to psychotherapists, mental health providers.

Asian Mental Health Collective: A community and resource for Asian mental health support.

The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–8 pm, ET. 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

Anti-racism & allyship resources:

Donate to and support organizations like Stop AAPI Hate

Read more about the history of anti-Asian racism: This piece, "Ignoring The History Of Anti-Asian Racism Is Another Form Of Violence" by Connie Wun, is a good place to start.

Attend a workshop to be a more effective bystander and anti-racist ally, like this one hosted by Hollaback.

Read "The Affirmations I Embody as an Asian American" by Alice Tsui