In an interview with Bloomberg, Korean American singer-songwriter and entrepreneur Eric Nam spoke about the increase of hate crimes against Asian Americans in response to the mass shooting incident that took place in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. He shared how it has affected him, his friends, and the city deeply. He explained that it’s not just them but Asians everywhere who have been left shaken by the event.

time magazine
| Time Magazine

Eric briefly shared his experience growing up in the States. He explained how, for years, he had brushed aside microaggressions and even some racism. He recognizes now that ignoring it was normalizing it.

As an adult, and especially over the span of even the past year or so where Asian hate crimes have really skyrocketed in terms of the occurrence and severity and how much of it is happening, I think it’s important for us to have these conversations to say this is not okay. Let’s talk about this. Why is it not okay? What can we do to fix it?

— Eric Nam

| Bloomberg

He revealed he had been apprehensive about speaking publicly via news sources related to this issue due to the weight and severity that comes from it. He acknowledged that while we don’t have all the answers, just having a conversation can make a difference.

First of all, I think having these conversations is incredibly important. We need for this to be a constant conversation. It is painful. It is difficult. Nobody ever said this was going to be easy, but it needs to be done. I think engaging and having the patience to figure out what the steps are… I think that’s the first step to kind of us take us forward.

— Eric Nam

| Bloomberg

Eric said that getting involved in your local community is a step in the right direction. Becoming an ally to the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) community can be as simple as listening to your Asian friends and being there for them.

So being involved on a local grassroots level, involving people in your community, supporting Asian, Asian American businesses, your friends, and your allies, and really being an ear or a shoulder or just a friend.

— Eric Nam

| Bloomberg

Eric shared an example of how an acquaintance reached out, saying that, while they may never understand what it is like to be Asian or Asian American, they would like to be a friend to the community in any way. He added, “That in itself was very empowering, and I think encourages a lot of us to continue to have these conversations.” 

| Bloomberg

He said, finally, that if one is able to give financially to organizations who do “work on the ground to encourage and really facilitate change,” do so. As an example, he mentioned that GoFundMe has partnered with Asian American non-profits. He concluded by saying that there are many resources available now that allow one to become more educated on the AAPI experience and become a better ally to the community.

You can watch Eric’s full interview with Bloomberg below: