Paul Li ‘s speech in Potomac , Maryland
3/21/2021 Potomac Glen and Willows of Potomac Communities’ Neighborhood Vigil
Why I’m here tonight:
1. I’m here, as you are, to remember the eight wonderful lives that were taken away because of hate and prejudice against our community. These eight people are just like us. They are mothers, sisters, daughters. Their life stories are similar to ours. They may not have a comfortable and highly regarded job like some of us, but they have the same goal you and I have, a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. You can use the grand term “American Dream” to describe it. But it’s not a grand dream in reality. We all just want to have a better life for ourselves and our children. Let us Remember them as individuals with unfulfilled dreams, not a cold statistics of victims.
2. I’m here, to speak up, to give voice to the victims who cannot speak, to say NO to stereotypes, prejudice, violence and hate. We Asians are often viewed as docile and submissive. Even when cursed, attacked, and trampled on, we would just eat the bitterness and keep silent. Silence no more! Our people are being attacked. Our people are being killed. Stop the violence! Stop the bullying. Stop the hate. Yes, we don’t like confrontation. That’s NOT because we are weak. That’s because we believe in the golden rule: 己所不欲 勿施于人 we want to treat others the way we want to be treated. Yes, we are a quiet bunch of people. We are people of few words. But that’s NOT because we don’t have grievances or desires. That’s because we believe action speak louder than words. We believe in solving problems rather than complaining about them. We will speak at appropriate time. This is the time to speak up, against violence hate and prejudice against our people. We need to speak up, lest the evil thinks our lives are so insignificant that they can treat us like silent lambs!
3. I’m here to declare, we are NOT perpetual foreigners. Yes, many of us were not born here. We speak with an accent. Don’t be fooled. We don’t think with an accent. While some people are born to be American, we have to work our ways to become American. We are as much an American as anyone. We have invested our whole lives in this country. We are here to stay. Our children are here to stay. Better get used to us if you haven’t yet!
4. I’m here today, to set an example for our children. All it takes for the evil to triumph is no one stands up and speaks against the evil. I’m here to declare that we are NOT your model minority! We will speak up when we see injustice. We will speak up when we see evil. That doesn’t mean we don’t love this country that we have chosen to put our roots down. We speak up because we know this country belongs to each one of us, native born and immigrants. We speak up, because we believe, only when all of us participate, can we make this country a more perfect Union.