Healing Reflections; "AMERICAN Asian, Not Germ Warfare" by Jenny Lau, O.D.
"AMERICAN Asian, Not Germ Warfare"
Story by: Jenny Lau, O.D. | Mayo Clinic Health System
Hate Crimes in the Asian community in America
I did not have the courage to share this with anyone at the time I was really feeling down. As you may or may not have heard, there has been a slew of Asian hate crimes that has occurred all over the United States. The most recent was the shootings in Atlanta that killed eight Asian women – a hate crime at its worst.
As of late, I have been feeling a multitude of emotions – scared, angry, sad, hopeless, and lonely to the highest regard that I have ever felt in my life. These hate crimes affect me, it affects my family, and it affects anyone else who looks exactly like I do. When news broke about the shootings in Atlanta, I was even scared to leave my apartment. That day at work Jaclyn had asked me how I was doing, and I unfortunately do a very good job at pushing emotions aside and said I was fine. In fact, I wanted to burst out crying every ten minutes that morning but luckily clinic got busy enough I didn’t have time to ruminate.
As a young Chinese woman who lives in alone in a place where I am clearly a “minority”, I felt and still do feel unsafe during this time. I felt alone in this world as if everyone else around me at work was living a life I did not understand –talking about their normal day, what they will have for lunch, or complaining about yesterday’s shift. As I on the other hand, ordered more self-defense tools, always walk around with pepper spray in my hand, and fear to go outside alone. I realize that I should’ve have asked for support when I needed it. Though to be honest, the reason why I didn’t on that day was because an ill-mannered property manager at my apartment didn’t think my concerns were important nor valid. Thus, I felt like perhaps I was overreacting.
These are the very actions of ignorant people that place us in such a vulnerable state. I have finally experienced that firsthand and it has been truly eye-opening to say the least. Us as Asians in general were always taught to lay low and don’t make a fuss. Unfortunately, this in of itself is what perpetuates ongoing racism towards us. I am here to take a stance that I will not tolerate this, and I will be a voice that is heard. My workplace should not tolerate this, and the community shouldn’t either.
I have had some time to grieve and take up space on this topic. I am feeling better now and will be okay. To be clear, there was nothing at work that had offended me in anyway. for the purpose of sharing my experiences is so that we as a workplace and community can acknowledge and be educated of these issues. Issues that not only I go through, but any other “minority” person out there goes through.
Art by: Nancy Erickson Dutmer | Chetek, WI
Nancy Erickson Dutmer’s theatrical and artistic upbringing heavily influenced her creative path through life. Most of her adulthood was spent singing, acting, directing, and choreographing in the theatre, including a costuming and choreography stint in LA with Christopher Lloyd, John Goodman and Jane Leeves. While she maintained this career, she pursued a college education to become an art teacher. Nancy became discouraged with teaching before graduation, so she focused on becoming a visual artist.
With several awards and art studies under her belt, she and her family left her birthplace of Illinois, and moved to Chetek, Wisconsin. The Northwoods inspired paintings of lakes, fish, birch, dogs, deer and bears.
Growing tired of the local theme, Nancy longed to create theatrically staged art. She now paints with oils or works with bead embroidery to create award winning Circus themes, nudes, portraits and animals, all with a decidedly vintage flair about them.
I have travelled to Japan five times and I find the Asian culture welcoming, creative, spiritual, and very kind. I was struck with sadness when I heard Chinese people were being attacked for starting Covid. Jenny’s story resonated with me from my heart creating a passion so strong; the portrait's concept flew into my head propelling me to paint the art in one sitting.
For more information about the Healing Reflections gallery or to get involved with the project, contact Sara Martinek.