(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Hate crimes against Asian Americans have been making headlines across the country, but now this kind of crime may be hitting closer to home.
“I was in utter disbelief, like just blown away. I couldn’t believe that anybody could be that disrespectful,” said Brandy Skouby, Witness of Anti-Asian sentiment.
Brandy Skouby said she witnessed an act of hate first hand. Skouby said she was at a nail salon when another customer began berating workers for not speaking perfect English, shaming the staff and business owner for speaking two languages.
“Even when the lady(business owner) told her that she had been here for 20 years, the lady who was being so rude said, ‘Well, it sounds like you’ve only been here for two weeks,’” said Skouby, “I looked at the lady and I said, ‘There’s no reason to be so rude.’ She just kept on saying, ‘Well, they need to speak just English.’”
Skouby took to social media to sound off on what happened hoping to raise awareness and encourage others to speak up against hate. She said if she could relive that moment, Skouby wouldn't have held back. She said,“If I had to do it all over again, I would have been more outspoken. I would’ve asked her to leave."
“Words hurt. Those are things we don’t forget,” said Kayla Reed, Co-founder of "Asians Do Matter."
Microaggressions like the one Skouby said she witnessed sparked a 23-year-old Kansas City woman to co-found a nationwide organization, "Asians Do Matter."
“I felt like a fire in my belly and I just felt as though I needed to do something about it and take action,” said Reed.
Reed built the website asiansdomattermovement.org after seeing Asian Americans targeted and assaulted during the Covid-19 Pandemic. She said it's, “Very disheartening when you have leaders and individuals who refer to the pandemic as the ‘kung-flu’ or the ‘China virus’ because that’s only going to make the hate continue and make individuals within our entire globe think it’s okay to say those things.”
The site gained support from prominent leaders, offering resources and providing an outlet for others to share their stories of faced racism, like Reed's.
“I had an individual tell me to go back to China. Another to stay out of massage parlors like other females,” said Reed.
The organization raised over $10,000 so far all in an effort to pass legislation against hate crimes. Reed hopes by putting the spotlight on this growing epidemic it will help bring about change.
“I encourage them too to use their platforms, use their voice. I think we’re really at a point where silence is violence, if anything. Speak up and look out for the rest of us. We’re all in this together,” said Reed.
If you would like to support the movement or donate, click here.