At Landmark Health, we are actively working to challenge racism. As we reflect on the latest case of hate-fueled violence, this time targeted at Asian American women, we know that being anti-racist is the only response that will turn the tide. And that includes publicly speaking out against this behavior when it happens.
Last week, eight individuals with families and life goals had their bright lights and lives extinguished. We wish we could say this was an isolated incident but it is not.
- There has been a sharp increase in anti-Asian hate incidents reported over the past year, most of them against Asian women, and many against frail and elderly people.
- Sixty percent of people of Asian descent report having seen or experienced someone blaming Asian people for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sadness and recognition that discrimination is real is not enough. Being anti-racist means individually and collectively naming and working against discrimination. It means demanding that our institutions – health care, law enforcement, education, public policy – do the same.
Landmark’s co-founder and chief medical officer, Dr. Michael Le – who is a role model and a moral compass for so many of our employees – has a deeply personal message to share:
“As a Vietnamese-American, the events of the last year have deeply affected me in ways you may not all be aware.” – Dr. Michael Le
“As a Vietnamese-American, the events of the last year have deeply affected me in ways you may not all be aware. My wife, two daughters and I have limited some of our outside activities due to concern about anti-Asian sentiments we have witnessed while out in public. Shockingly, a man in a truck chased after and attempted to run over an Asian American mother and daughter at a park near my home. I shudder to think it could very easily have been my own wife and daughters assaulted. It breaks my heart to think of the collective fear and pain felt by Asian children, parents and grandparents around this nation.
I also understand the psychological dilemma many Asian Americans face to rising up and speaking out against this racism. Many of us were taught to silently endure it, and just work harder to overcome harassment, without making a commotion or drawing attention. As such, many hate incidents against Asian Americans are never reported, and are instead internalized. Suffering happens in silence until a tragedy like the one in Atlanta rips open the never healing wounds, like it has for me.
Racism-fueled violence has flared in very public and shocking ways during the past year. But let there be no mistake that these incidents are not isolated or new, and they are not limited to Black and African- or Asian-American people. Rather these incidents are manifestations of the long-standing bias and discrimination that has been an unfortunate part of our nation’s fabric since its founding, including discrimination based on skin color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. As the Chief Medical Officer of an organization founded to help the most vulnerable people in our communities, I am acutely aware of the trauma that long-standing discrimination has perpetrated on our patient population. In some ways, Landmark exists to treat this trauma and the resultant health disparities.” – Dr. Michael Le
We ask our employees, patients, partners and communities to keep front and center the real stories of people all around you who have lived so many years of their lives facing discrimination – and stand with us against racism.