Amid Awakening, Asian-Americans Are Still Taking Shape as a Political Force

Amid Awakening, Asian-Americans Are Still Taking Shape as a Political Force

When Mike Park first heard about the recent shootings in Atlanta, he felt angry and afraid. But almost immediately, he had another thought.

“We can’t just sit back,” he said. “We can’t sit in our little enclave anymore.”

Born in South Carolina to Korean immigrants, Mr. Park grew up wanting to escape his Asian identity. He resented having to be the one student to speak at Asian-Pacific day and felt embarrassed when his friends did not want to eat dinner at his house because of the unfamiliar pickled radishes and cabbage in his refrigerator.

Now 42, Mr. Park embraces both his Korean heritage and an Asian-American identity he shares with others of his generation. The Atlanta shootings that left eight dead, six of them women of Asian descent, made him feel an even stronger sense of solidarity, especially after a surge in bias incidents against Asians nationwide.

“I do think this horrible crime has brought people together,” said Mr. Park, who works as an insurance agent in Duluth, Ga., an Atlanta suburb that is a quarter Asian. “It really is an awakening.”

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