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Researching, preserving, and amplifying the legacy of Asian Americans in the Dallas area

On Saturday, May 6, a gunman opened fire at Allen Premium Outlets, killing eight people and wounding at least seven more. According to the Texas Tribune, the shooter wore a patch on his chest that said “RWDS,” which is an acronym for “Right Wing Death Squad,” a popular phrase among right-wing extremists, neo-Nazis, and White Supremacists. He reportedly posted "violent, hateful references" on social media shortly before the killing spree "that included singling out Asians with slurs."

The mass shooting, which occurred during the first weekend of AANHPI Heritage Month, serves as a stark reminder that Asian American heritage is not just our culture, food, or traditions. It’s also what we have inherited by virtue of being Asian in America: a history of enduring violence, hatred, and discrimination.

A history that includes the largest mass lynching in America, the country’s first exclusionary laws based on ethnicity, incarceration of Japanese American citizens, anti-Muslim attacks and legislation, and more. But Anti-Asian racism is not a thing of the past. Since March 2020 alone, more than 11,000 acts of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate.

Here in Dallas, the city’s chapter of the Ku Klux Klan once included one out of every three eligible men. Today, North Texas is a breeding ground for racist terrorists. According to a recent Anti-Defamation League (ADL) report, Texas led the nation in incidents of White Supremacist propaganda.

The deadly intersection between gun violence, patriarchy, and systemic racism cannot be solved by addressing mental health alone. It is more important than ever to use our voices and advocate for our community’s safety.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines heritage as "something transmitted by or acquired from a predecessor: LEGACY, INHERITANCE.” The history we make today will be the legacy inherited by future generations. What are you going to leave behind?

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