Violence against Asian Americans has risen dramatically over the past year. The coalition Stop AAPI Hate has tracked nearly 4,000 incidents of discrimination over the past year alone, as NPR reported earlier this month, though experts and advocates stress that the actual number is likely much higher. In March 2021 alone, a gunman in Atlanta killed six women of Asian descent amid widely circulated social-media videos of other brutal anti-Asian attacks in New York City and elsewhere.
The members of BTS have taken to Twitter to speak out, both in English and Korean, against this uptick in violence and racist incidents as well as to reveal that they themselves — J-Hope, Jimin, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Suga, and V — have faced discrimination, though they stressed that their experience doesn't compare to recent violence.
"We send our deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones," the note begins. "We feel grief and anger.
"We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians. We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look," it continues. "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.
"What is happening right now cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians. It required considerable time for us to discuss this carefully and we contemplated deeply on how we should voice our message. But what our voice must convey is clear.
"We stand against racial discrimination," the note concludes. "We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together."
In 2020, as anti-racism and anti-police violence protests overtook the nation (and certain international cities as well), the BTS members spoke out in support of Black Lives Matter and even donated $1 million to the cause — a show of support quickly matched by fans.
Read the group's note in full, in English, above.