A trustee for a township in a Cincinnati suburb made a powerful statement during a board meeting this week after displaying the scars he received while serving in the US military.
At Tuesday’s West Chester Township, Ohio, board meeting, President Lee Wong, 69, revealed the scars on his chest while delivering an impromptu speech on violence against Asian Americans following the murder of six women of Asian descent in Georgia, as well as a recent increase in racially motivated attacks on Asian Americans across the country.
Wong, who considers himself a moderate Republican, spoke for the first time about his arrival in the United States from Borneo at age 18 and the “unfortunate event” that led him to pursue a career in public service. While he was in Chicago during the 1970s, someone beat him up for being Asian, according to Wong.
“We went to court and he was never punished, so that changed the course of my career. I went to the US Army. And I served 20 years in active duty. For too long, I have endured a lot of m — in silence, excuse the language, “Wong said. “Too scared to speak, fearing further abuse and discrimination.”
TO clip of his speech, posted on Twitter, It went viral afterward 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 who come up to me and tell me I don’t seem American or patriotic enough,” Wong said. before starting to take off his suit and unbutton his shirt. “I am not afraid. I do not 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 quite inhibited. People look at me strangely and then question my loyalty to this country.” Wong said. “The last time I read the American Constitution, we the people are all the same. We are the same.”
“Prejudice is hatred, and that hatred can be changed. We are human. We need to be kinder, kinder to each other,” Wong added.