In Chinatown, Young Artists Condemn Hate Crimes

At the MOCA exhibit against hate crimes (Photo via World Journal)

The 2017 Hate Crimes Prevention Exhibit, an annual art exhibition hosted by the New York Chapter of OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates for high school students, was unveiled at the Museum of Chinese in America on August 10. The exhibition, the 11th of its kind, was dubbed “Everyone’s Blood is Red. Let’s Prevent the Bleeding,” and it called for young people to condemn hate crime with their artwork.

“We (OCA) have helped a lot of hate crime victims, taken them to the district attorney’s offices and accompanied them to court. And in the process, we realized that we should try to prevent hate crimes from the beginning,” said Liz Ouyang, chair of the civil rights and advisory committees of the New York Chapter of OCA and the founder of the exhibition. She said young people could easily become predators and victims in hate crimes, and the art exhibition aims to implant seeds of love in the hearts of young people.

“We don’t want to see anyone become a victim of hate crimes. That’s why we hold this exhibition,” said Chi Loek, president of the New York Chapter of OCA.

The competition attracted 53 participants this year, and five of them won awards for their works. The awards were presented by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Assembly woman of District 65 Yuh-line Niou at the opening ceremony. Fourteen summer interns of OCA also helped organize the exhibition.

The top prize went to Rachel and Violeta Luna. Luna shot a video to show the discrimination she faces everyday and to echo Rachel’s poem on the same theme. Sally Chan, a student from Brooklyn Technical High School, won the second place with her creative drawing “Helping Hands.” The drawing features a man standing in front of a background of land that is covered by roses and thorns. Blood oozes out from the man’s eyes, ears, and heart. At the bottom of the drawing are “helping hands” in different colors.

Chan, who will celebrate her 17th birthday next month, said the man represents minority victims hurt by discrimination, while the roses represent love and tolerance. The thorns can hurt, but on the same land grow the roses that can heal the wounds. And the hands are a symbol of the strength that comes from people from different racial groups uniting to fight against hate crimes. “Everyone is biased, more or less. Many people are discriminated against and some are victims of hate crimes. I want to call for people to help one another with my painting,” said Chan.

Joey Cheng, a student from Stuyvesant High School, won the fifth place again this year, with a poem entitled “Tell Me Why.” The poem calls for respect toward victims of hate crimes or discrimination, and highlights that everyone was born equal. “Many people don’t completely realize the harm some activities can do to the people and society even when they see it in the news. I hope my work can send out the message of anti-discrimination,” Cheng said.

Mingyue Zhu, a Chinese student who participated in the exhibition last year, came back this year with her work “Harmony.” The work features different flowers that symbolize the diversity of society and calls for harmony among people.

The exhibition runs through August 20th.  The Museum of Chinese in America is located at 215 Centre Street, Manhattan.

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