We at Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry believe that Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with the fight against police brutality and systemic racial injustice. We also acknowledge our own APA communities’ complicity in anti-Black racism and commit to working against it.
APAs not only should stand for Black lives—we must. Here are some resources and places that our community can start.
“‘Model Minority’ Used as a Racial Wedge Between Asians and Blacks” (Via NPR Code Switch)
“Asian Americans and the Legacy of Antiblackness” (from Brown’s In Defense of Affirmative Action: A Guide for Asian American Students)
“Dismantling the Barrier Between Asians and African Americans” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Tools & Educational Resources
Letters for Black Lives | Developed in response to the shooting of Akai Gurley by Peter Liang, this tool for explaining to our APA elders and loved ones why Black lives should matter to us provides helpful scripts in multiple languages than can help to broach the difficult subject of endemic anti-Black racism within our communities.
“Tips for Talking to People In Your Lives About Anti-Blackness” (Opens in Instagram) | This post from @southasians4blacklives discusses some strategies for addressing anti-Black racism with loved ones, especially in the AsAm community.
“20+ Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now” | Michelle Kim offers a list of ways for Asian Americans to stand with the Black community, along with a brief summary of some helpful historical and sociopolitical context.
26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets | This pamphlet provides some sound advice about how to support protests and protestors even if you are not able to be on the ground in person. It also contains a helpful reminder to the API community to not allow our race or the model minority myth to be used as a wedge.
Talking About Race (Online Portal) | This educational site from the National Museum of African American History & Culture provides tools and information for helping educators, parents, and individuals committed to equity to engage in important and meaningful discussions about race.
Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit | This toolkit from the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO, covers an enormous range of helpful topics but also includes a specific “For Black Lives” section that covers useful information and provides exercises and prompts to aid in discussion, engagement, and understanding.
Black and Asian American Feminist Solidarities: A Reading List (via Black Women Radicals)
Black History Month Reading List for Asian Americans (via 18 Million Rising)
Black Lives Matter Syllabus (via Black Lives Matter, Williamsburg, VA)
31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, Racism, and Resistance (via edubirdie—link updated 9/2021)
1000 Black Girl Books Resource Guide (from Marley Dias’s #1000blackgirlbooks campaign)
Some Recommended Books by Black Poets
Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood, and History by Camille T. Dungy
Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady
Hum by Jamaal May
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith
Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith
Places to Donate
Petitions and Letters
Open Letter of Solidarity from the Asian Minnesotans Against Racism & Xenophobia Collaborative (via Coalition of Asian American Leaders)
What else can I do?
If you are able, consider attending a protest. If you are a non-Black Asian American, use your body (and your privilege) to protect others when you can. Call elected officials and write letters, sign petitions, wield your vote at the ballot box (and speak up against voter suppression). It’s also important to amplify Black voices. Buy books by Black writers, share their work online, and support Black-owned bookstores. If you teach, include work by Black writers in your curriculums and syllabuses year round. If you are a parent, have conversations about racial injustice with your children and read books by Black authors and that center Black protagonists’ stories. Make a donations to organizations like Cave Canem that support Black writers and artists. Be thoughtful in your own written and spoken language, whether formal or informal (including online). Do not appropriate Black culture or African American Vernacular English (AAVE); do not engage in or support literary blackface; do not put yourself at the center of conversations about police brutality or other issues that affect the Black community. Most of all, read, learn, listen, acknowledge your privilege, combat racism within yourself, and educate others in your community. We can—and must—work for change together.