Authorities in Orange County, California are investigating a potential hate crime after a grieving Asian American family received a threatening letter.
Claudia Choi shared that her family received the anonymous letter on Monday, but it was post-marked on Friday, the day her father, Byong, was laid to rest, KCAL9 reports.
The writer of the handwritten note celebrated Byong’s death: “Now that Byong is gone makes it one less Asian to put up with in Leisure World.”
“You fricken Asians are taking over our American community!” the letter continues. “It is not resting well with all and everybody who lives here—true statement!!! Watch out! Pack your bags and go back to your country where you belong!”
Choi is both upset and concerned. “We Asians hear this all the time, we are dehumanized all the time,” she told Nextshark. The letter appears to have come from inside Seal Beach’s Leisure World, the retirement community for people over 55 that her mother currently resides in.
“Racism and hatred and cruelty needs to be denounced at every turn,” Choi told KCAL9. “It’s not just when somebody gets beaten up, although that’s terrible or when women get murdered, that’s awful but when your neighbor says something like they need to go home or makes an Asian joke, you need to speak up and say that is not okay because these little things that we allow to pass lead to bigger things.”
Since the letter arrived via mail, Choi reported it to both the FBI and the police. In addition to looking into the handwriting, the authorities are also conducting a fingerprint analysis and DNA tests to determine the identity of the sender.
In a statement, Seal Beach Police Chief Philip L. Gonshak mentioned that incidents of hate toward the community are “disgusting and will not be tolerated.”
Leisure World also released a statement condemning the person who sent the racist letter.
“This malicious and egregious act of hate speech threatens our core values of racial equity and social justice,” Leisure World wrote. ”We condemn in the strongest possible terms such action and that all actions will be taken to locate and prosecute the individual.”
Leisure World has decided that if the sender is found to be one of its residents, this person will be removed from the retirement community. Choi added that there are many Asians in the Seal Beach Leisure World community and that her parents lived happily there and had many friends before her father’s passing.
Choi told NextShark she hopes her experience pushes AAPI community members to take a stand when it comes to racist incidents.
“I urge Asian Americans to stand up and speak out on the racism that they face. it shouldn’t have to take these tragedies, deaths, and attacks for people to know that Asian American discrimination is real and something we face daily.”
Feature Image via the Seal Beach Police Department