Meng’s insistence that “We will not let you take our voice” encapsulates the impetus behind the multiple but absolutely connected struggles for democracy and against repression.
Former President Donald Trump was often criticized over the last year for his use of the phrase “China virus” to refer to the novel coronavirus, the virus that causes Covid-19. Trump would often employ the phrase in official communications via his Twitter account. It was also picked up by right-wing news outlets like Fox News, which have designed their coverage to explicitly blame the Chinese government for the pandemic and its effects on American life.
Amid all this, human rights groups have expressed concern that the use of the phrase would contribute to an uptick in anti-Asian violence with numerous places around the country reporting random attacks against Asian citizens. A national conversation on anti-Asian violence has taken center-stage again since authorities arrested a gunman who shot and killed eight people and injured one at three Atlanta-area spas. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent.
In the wake of the shooting, Representative Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) has criticized Trump for emboldening racists and stoking violence.
“When I first heard the former president use words like ‘kung flu’ and ‘Chinese virus,’ I was really horrified. And every time he said it, I thought, okay, this will be the last time. He couldn’t possibly continue to use it,” Meng said during an