Updated: Dec 22, 2020
A statement from IOW's Executive Director, Jimmy Wu
I’ve been triggered. I didn’t immediately understand why but after more than a week witnessing George Floyd’s murder while under the care of law enforcement, I’ve had enough time to process why I’ve felt so much anxiety and fear. UNDER THE CARE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT. I have to emphasize that part. I witnessed, along with everyone else, a HUMAN BEING have his life slowly TAKEN from him. Not because he was a threat to public safety, not because he was a threat to those restraining him, but because someone responsible for CARING for him chose not to. Instead, this person CHOSE to KILL him. And those wearing his same uniform CHOSE to look the other way than to stop him.
I mentioned the word triggered. I haven’t slept well at all, haven’t been “productive.” I couldn’t understand why. Then I remembered, when tossing and turning these past nights, a memory I’ve suppressed and haven’t openly shared with most people. I was 16 years old, just a kid, when I was arrested during the act of committing a crime. I walked backwards (with guns pointed at me) during my arrest, hands interlocked behind my head, until I was within proximity of my arresting officers to swiftly slap handcuffs onto my wrists and throw me into the back of a police vehicle. I was terrified enough sitting in the secured confines of the back seat of a police vehicle when the door to my right was suddenly yanked open and a police officer grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and began choking me. One enormous hand securely fastened itself around my neck. As I gasped for air, I was pummeled by the closed fist of a man twice my size. I was so full of adrenaline (or perhaps it was being in shock), that I didn’t realize until days later my lower jaw had been dislocated. I remember being sent to juvenile hall and not much else until several weeks later. Maybe it was something I subconsciously suppressed. I’ll never know. I was under the CARE of law enforcement. This was the care I received. As a 16 year old kid.
My point in sharing this now is because I have to. I have to talk about what happened to me, though it’s uncomfortable. This is what happened to me, as an Asian American kid. I won’t pretend to understand what it’s like to be born Black, but I will take a stand when enough is enough. This isn’t about being Black, White, Asian, Pacific Islanders, Latino, or Native American, but being a human being. That’s it, that’s all. Some of my closest friends and mentors are in law enforcement. I will refrain from categorizing them because I wouldn’t want to be judged because of anything anybody else is doing, but from what I am doing. As my own person, as an individual, as a human being. However, if isolated incidents become routine, there is a problem and it MUST be addressed. If we are putting trust into our public servants and they are proving not to honor our trust, it’s a problem. We have to take a look at where it comes from, understand it, then work collectively towards a solution. This is how we win. Not to give more ammunition towards division, but to unite. As human beings. And to speak our truth. Just shared mine. Would love to hear yours.