South Korean boy band BTS issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the recent surge in anti-Asian violence and shared their experiences of the racism they have faced.
“We send our deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. We feel grief and anger,” the band said in the statement.
The statement highlighted moments when they “faced discrimination as Asians”, including “enduring expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look” and being “asked why Asians spoke in English”.
They said that the band’s “own experiences are inconsequential” compared to recent events but that the racism was “enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem”.
“What is happening right now cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians. It required considerable time for us to discuss this carefully and we contemplated deeply on how we should voice our message,” they added.
“We feel grief and anger,” BTS said, going on to detail some of the racist attacks they’ve experienced as Asian men. “We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English,” the statement said. “We cannot put into words the pain of becoming a subject of hatred and violence for such a reason.”
The band concluded saying: “We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected.”
The eight victims of the Atlanta shooting have since been identified as Soon Chung Park, 74, Hyun Jung Grant, 51, Suncha Kim, 69, Yong Ae Yue, 63, Delaina Ashley Yuan, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Xiaojie Yan, 49, and Daoyou Feng, 44. The suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been arrested and charged with eight counts of murder and one count of assault in connection with the shooting.
Since the deadly incident, stars like Olivia Munn, Daniel Dae Kim and Jamie Chung have used their platforms and large social media following to speak out against the rising violence against Asian Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic, showing support for the AAPI community.