By Quyen Dinh
Diverse Elders Coalition 

To heal, we need community


April 1, 2021 | View PDF


Elders shop at an Asian produce market. Simply being able to participate in activities like this without fear of harm should be a goal of every community.

Over these last few weeks, the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC) has joined Asian Americans across the country in grief and in alarm over the ongoing anti-Asian violence recently culminating in a nationwide series of separate attacks on our elders. Our hearts go out to the victims of these horrific acts and their families.

This surge in anti-Asian hate against our communities has hit close to home, directly impacting our SEARAC family. Our Board Vice Chair, Kathy Duong, recently shared her mother's traumatic experience as one such victim. In describing the support needed for her mother to heal from this incident, Kathy urges, "What my mother needs to heal is a sense of community. Our elders simply have the right to not be afraid living their daily lives: knowing they can go to the grocery store or the bank and not have to plan on whether they are making themselves someone's target."

SEARAC has devoted deep reflection toward the path we must take to support our elders. We've given much thought about our commitment to advocate for policies that dismantle hate, unify our communities, and allow our elders to age with dignity. And we've taken guidance from SEARAC's core values: that the voices of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations matter; that those most impacted by the issues should be the faces and voices leading our work; and that love and community must be centered in the cultivation of healing.

We join our partners in demanding immediate and long-term investment into our Southeast Asian and Asian American communities across all sectors; and into culturally sensitive, linguistically accessible, community-centered interventions that will actually keep our people safe. Simultaneously, we resist the calls for more aggressive policing and enforcement, which have only created more harm and a culture of distrust for communities of color.

Ultimately, we know there is no easy or short-term solution to the hard work of rebuilding community, security and trust.

But only together, in cross-racial solidarity, can we heal and build communities where there is no place for hate.

Quyen Dinh is the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center Executive Director. This article was originally published on and is part of an ongoing series by the Diverse Elders Coalition, focusing on different senior populations.


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