'We feel grief and anger': BTS condemns anti-Asian racism and violence in emotional message

By Zach Harper

Massively successful South Korean pop group BTS has condemned anti-Asian racism in an emotional social media message in which they also opened up against discrimination they have faced in their careers.

Celebrities have spent the last few weeks speaking out against anti-Asian racism, violence and hate crimes, which have increased over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the United States and in Canada.

"We send our deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones," Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook wrote in a March 29 statement shared on their Twitter account with the hashtags #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate. (AAPI is an acronym for the Asian American Pacific Islander community.)

"We feel grief and anger," the message continued. "We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians. We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.

"We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason. Our own experiences are inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks. But these experiences were enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem."

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The group, who have sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, went on to add they needed "considerable time" to think about what they wanted to say with their message.

"We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence," they finished. "You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together."

The multi-platinum stars are the latest celebrities to speak out against anti-Asian racism, violence and hate crimes. Canada's Sandra Oh made a moving speech at a Pittsburgh rally earlier this month in which she led the crowd in two chants: "I am proud to be Asian" and "I belong here."

On March 18, former Hawaii Five-0 star Daniel Dae Kim spoke to the Congressional House Committee on the Judiciary about increasing anti-Asian racism and violence. He also appeared on the Today show to talk about the issue on the same day.

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