From verbal harassment to violent and deadly assaults, acts of anti-Asian hate in America have been on the rise since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
But in recent months, something else has been on the rise, too — a loud and clear response to it all, from Asian Americans and from allies of all races. And according to actor and activist Daniel Dae Kim, that’s making a real difference.
“It’s been a difficult year for race relations in America,” Kim said during a Friday morning video visit to the 3rd hour of TODAY. “I’m glad to say that I think there has been progress.”
That’s a powerful statement just one month after shootings at three Atlanta-area spas left eight people dead, including six Asian women. But it was in the wake of that tragedy and other disturbing reports of discrimination that so many people began to rally for change — including Kim and other celebrities, including Olivia Munn and Mindy Kaling.
“One of the best things about people speaking up and speaking out has been there’s been a groundswell movement unlike anything that I’ve experienced in my lifetime,” the 52-year-old former “Lost” star explained. “More Asian Americans have spoken up; more marches have happened around the country than I’ve even seen.”
And that, he said, has prompted even more impactful change.
“Now, as a result of it, there are great things happening — like the first real national organization supporting Asian Americans,” he noted. “It’s something called TAAF, which is The Asian American Foundation, and it is going to be a significant effort to empower Asians, to fund grassroots organizations around the country and help educate America, as a whole, on the contributions of Asian Americans.”
The star, who was also on to discuss his new sci-fi thriller, “Stowaway,” paid another recent visit to TODAY last month. During that stop, he stressed the importance on the involvement of America, as a whole, in changing the course of racial tensions and hate because "every minority group has gone through this at one point in American history."
“Ultimately, that is the core of this entire issue. It's not an Asian American issue. It's a human issue,” he said, adding, “The African American community, the Latinx community, the white community and the Asian community ... it's a cliché, but I really do believe we are stronger together.”