MADISON, Miss. (WJTV) — Since the pandemic began over a year ago, there’s been a spike in prejudice toward Asian Americans.
Joseph To is a student at Ole Miss. He’s home for the summer working at his aunt and uncle’s business, Dang’s Seafood.
Out on a delivery in Madison a few weeks ago, he says he had a devastating experience.
“These kids drove behind me on a golf cart,” Joseph said. “Three 12-13 year old boys said some racial statements to me with my back turned to them and when I turned around they already drove off. That really hurt my feelings.”
This did not sit right with Mary Helen Abel, who also lives in Madison. In response, she and other members of the community organized a crawfish boil presented by Dang’s Seafood to show their love and support.
“We’re raising a family in Madison and it is really important to me for my children to know that we will not accept this in our community,” Abel said. “If it shows up, we will show up too.”
“As you can see today they’re just coming together to celebrate each other,” Heather Wood, another community member said. “To learn more, to do better, to be better, to be together.”
Wood wants everyone to know that this one incident is not an accurate representation of the community as a whole, and she’s going to work hard to make sure it does not happen again.
Joseph’s aunt Emma, the co-owner of Dang’s said that there is a ton of work left to be done, but progress is progress.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Emma said. “I think in order to understand our background and appreciate us they need to meet us. This is the way for them to do that.”
The To’s said that this opportunity means the world to them, and that it feels good to be heard.