'Emily in Paris' ' Ashley Park Shares Moving Message on Stopping Violence Against Asian Community

There have been at least 3,795 hate incidents targeting the AAPI community in the past year, according to a report released earlier this month 

Ashley Park
Photo: Bruce Glikas/WireImage

Emily in Paris star Ashley Park has shared an emotional message with her followers regarding the uptick in violence against the Asian-American community.

On Tuesday, eight people were killed in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlors — and though authorities said the suspect was not motivated by race, six of the victims were Asian women.

Even before Tuesday's incident, hate crimes against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community have been on the rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A report released by Stop AAPI Hate revealed that there have been at least 3,795 hate incidents targeting the AAPI community from March 19, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021. More than 500 of those incidences occurred in 2021.

Listen below to the episode of PEOPLE Every Day for our conversation with Marita Etcubañez of Asian Americans Advancing Justice about racism and misogyny against the Asian community in the aftermath of the Atlanta shootings.

Park posted a lengthy video to her Instagram page Wednesday in response to the violence in Atlanta, captioning it, "3 deadly shootings targeting Asian Women in Atlanta yesterday. I couldn't sleep. Some of these 5am ramblings are very personal, but I decided to share because ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I hope this helps someone feel not so alone in all this muck. Allies, thank you and please watch til end, this is societal programming that we can change."

"I'm so tired of people not knowing what's going on and also tired of people not understanding where these acts of hate and violence towards Asians is coming from," she began, before quoting a tweet from Pachinko author Min Jin Lee.

"In less than 48 hours, we had a historic Asian Oscar moment with multiple firsts in 93 years — then a mass shooting targeting 3 Asian-owned businesses," Lee tweeted. "This is how terrorism works — you're not allowed to feel safe, accepted, or valued. We can resist. Take up space. Make noise."

"I'm always wondering why? Like how did it come to this? Why is there that hate?" Park, 29, continued in her Instagram video. "These things happen when people have rage and entitlement, and when they prey on the weak."

"I really don't want to cry right now, because I do not want to perpetuate the idea that Asian women are weak, because we're not," she said, before clarifying, "You know what? No. I can cry if I want because emotions are just as strong."

The Tony-nominated Broadway star then went on to explain that her "entire life" has been spent "trying to move forward in a society run by white supremacy."

"I have a lot of hope for this younger generation," she said. "I guess that's what every generation thinks, right? That they are making a better world for the younger generation. I guess that's the whole point. So, I do hope that this younger generation lives in a world where they don't have to deal with this, or they at least have the tools and allies to deal with it better than I am dealing with it now."

"This racism starts at a very small level. It starts with things that you say. It starts when someone calls a virus that shut down the whole world the 'Kung Flu virus.' It also starts when you roll your eyes or make fun of Asian waiters or Chinese food delivery people and the nail artist. I'm guilty of that, too," Park continued.

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Park, who is Korean-American, also referenced some common microaggressions she has experienced or seen.

"The amount of times in my life that I've been asked where I'm from before what my name is … I'm okay but you don't understand — or you do understand — the undervaluing that does," she said. "Starting with children, when every Asian kid should be able to be good at math and play a classical instrument and not be bullied and shunned and told you are only good at that because you are Asian. That makes literally no sense."

"It starts with the stupid little jokes," she added. "Even with your close friend, it starts with saying, 'Oh this is a good time for you to be in that industry because ethnic is really in right now.'"

Park concluded the emotional video by calling on others to recognize and stop hate in its tracks.

"I could go on and on and on and this is not about that," she said. "It's just this 21-year-old with a gun last night, he came from somewhere and at some point someone could have told him what he was feeling and thinking, and that hate was wrong. It starts at a really small level and I think we can do it."

To learn more and to report crimes, go to: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Stop the AAPI Hate, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, and Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council.

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