Kansas Citians honor AAPI communities after Asian American murders in Georgia

Jackie Nguyen Of Cà Phê // Photo By Travis Young

Jackie Nguyen of Cà Phê // Photo by Travis Young

Enough is enough. Kansas Citians gathered outside of Cafe Cà Phê to pray for the eight Atlanta shooting victims and stand in solidarity against anti-Asian crimes Sunday.

Jackie Nguyen, the owner of Cafe Cà Phê, says she is tired of feeling like “the other”.

Growing up, Nguyen wished she could be white. She would bring rice and grilled pork splashed with fish sauce for lunch but her peers would make fun of her for bringing “dog” or “rotten fish” to eat.

“Growing up, all I wanted was Lunchables,” Nguyen says. “It was the epitome of the American dream. To me, Lunchables were cool. They were American. They were white, and growing up, all I wanted to be was white.”

Nguyen had gone so far as to stop speaking Vietnamese to prove she was born in the U.S. Now, she has brought more visibility to Asian culture by opening Kansas City’s first Vietnamese coffee shop.

Racism against Asian Americans has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic after former President Trump did not take advice from the World Health Organization to refrain from terms like “Wuhan virus”.

Trump repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” and the “Kung flu” during public appearances, including White House briefings.  Even after his presidency, Trump refers to COVID-19 as the “China virus” as seen during an interview with FOX News on March 16.

Mari Matsumoto, 33, of Leawood, says she was spat on at a store and told to go back to her own country on Friday. She says the harassment was present in her life before the pandemic and was in the crowd to mourn the victims of the Atlanta-area mass shooting of mostly Asian women.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, Kansas state Rep. Rui Xu, and Missouri House Rep. Emily Weber were also present at the rally.

It is time to stand up for what is right. Anti-racism resources to support the AAPI community can be found here.

Photo essay by Travis Young:

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