Lee Wong, chairman of the West Chester, Ohio, Township Board of Trustees, condemned anti-Asian violence during an unscripted moment that has gone viral.
A township trustee in a Cincinnati suburb made a powerful statement during a board meeting this week after showing the scars he got while serving in the U.S. Army.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the West Chester Township, Ohio, Board of Trustees, chairman Lee Wong, 69, revealed the scars he bears across his chest as he delivered an impromptu speech about violence against Asian Americans following the killing of six women of Asian descent in Georgia as well as a recent uptick in racially-motivated attacks against Asian Americans nationwide.
Wong, who considers himself a moderate Republican, first opened up about coming to the U.S. from Borneo at 18 and the “unfortunate event” that led him to pursue a career in public service. While in Chicago during the 1970s, someone beat him up for being Asian, according to Wong.
“We went to court and he never got punished, so that changed the course of my career. I went to the U.S. Army and served 20 years in active duty. For too long, I have put up with a lot of s— in silence, excuse me the language,” Wong said. “Too afraid to speak out, fearing more abuse and discrimination.”
A clip of his speech, posted to Twitter, went viral after and has been viewed more than 2.5 million times.
“Don’t get me wrong, people love me in this community and I love them, too, but there are some ignorant people that would come up to me and say that I don’t look American enough or patriotic enough,” Wong said before he started to take off his suit and unbutton his shirt. “I’m not afraid. I don’t have to live in fear.”
“Here’s my proof,” he said as he stood up with his shirt open, showing the scars. “Now, is this patriot enough?”
“Before, I was fairly inhibited. People look at me strange, and then they question my loyalty to this country?” Wong said. “The last I read the American Constitution, we the people, we are all the same. We are equal.”
“Prejudice is hate, and that hate can be changed. We are human. We need to be kinder, gentler, to one another,” Wong added