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Update, April 9, 2021: When we first wrote this blog, we used the term Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI). Thank you to Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander (NHPI) leaders for calling attention to AAPI as a term that erases NHPI communities. We have adjusted our language in the blog to reflect this. Moving forward, we will use the terms NHPI or Pasifika when referring to our Pacific Islander communities in King County in order to honor our NHPI neighbors and stop the erasure that is caused when we treat our communities as a monolith.

We’re in solidarity with our diverse Asian neighbors in King County in the midst of a growing rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian racism and xenophobia have shaken and traumatized our communities. We denounce racism, colorism, and any actions taken to harm someone because of their race or place of origin. We also acknowledge and condemn the systemic violence and erasure that our Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities face, and how this is distinct from the escalation of anti-Asian hate crimes in our country.  

In response to this hate, we see art as an important form of community healing. Today, we’re sharing art pieces from some incredible local artists — Che Sehyun, Yvonne Chan, Toka Valu, and Tori Shao — who have shared their art with us to celebrate the power of community care, the healing potential of our traditions, and the vision of collective liberation.

Yellow, brown, and light orange toned piece of art by Toku Valu with lots of texture. In this print, there are textured trees and sun in the background. At the foreground, seven individuals with masks are puling boxes out of the back of the vehicle and stacking them. Being depicted is a typical day at a PICA-WA food distribution site where several of our Pacific Islander young people and adults continuously show up to volunteer, support the livelihoods of our fellow Pasifika community members, and also connect and fellowship with each other.
Art by Toka Valu
Quote from the artist, Toku Valu. “[This image] pays homage to the longevity of our traditions and customs that have survived generations of systemic aggression in efforts to erase our collective sense of self. This too is resilience and it all points back to the importance of uplifting the voices and leadership of our Pasifika communities who continue to steward their own self-determination.”
This is a piece of art by artist Che Sehyun. This is a photograph in which a femme person with colored facepaint, black heart glasses, and a flowered headdress, is taking a selife in front of a pink and blue wall. Overlayed on top of the photo is white text in caps that reads, "Respect my Culture, Respect My Life, I am Beautiful." At the bottom of the photo, there is white text that says "@HAFAROLDY. Chamoru Cultural Worker."
Art by Che Sehyun
Quote from the artist, Che Sehyun. "I stand for our cultural futures and our collective liberation — that is our indigenous cultures, our lives and our innate beauty."
This particular illustration is of Sun Wukong (孙悟空) or the Monkey King - a legendary figure and rebellious prankster with many supernatural powers. The Monkey King has a dramatic head dress with orange flames, a painted face with yellow and red circles aroudn the eyes, and is wearing a turquoise mask. The costume includes a large red and white bow around the neck. The Monkey King is weilding a red pole with black bamboo etches. The background is a dark dramatic purple.
Art by Tori Shao
Quote from the artist, Tori Shao. "Chinese opera is a form of musical theatre, the ornate costumes and painted faces have been developed over centuries and are steeped in symbolism, they are a source of cultural pride and identity. Notable characters from favorite tales persevere through the current-day trials of COVID-19 and racism, with modern day surgical masks and traditional symbols of resilience."
This is a piece of art by Yvonne Chan. This is a brightly-colored illustration with white text in the center that says "Stop the Hate." Around this, there are people of different shapes, sizes and ethnicities that are mostly masked and holding their fists up in solidarity. There is a grandma dancing with her grandchild, someone holding a boba drink as they put up the solidarity fist, and several young adults. The background is light purple and there is a rainbow weaving across.
Art by Yvonne Chen
Quote from the artist, Yvonne Chan. "There are no easy answers on how to confront this – but being vigilant and supporting local Asian-owned small businesses is one place to start. More than ever, we need to support and protect our local Asian communities. Stop the hate."

Originally published on March 17, 2021.