Sheba Sahlemariam (left), from Los Angeles, Vicky Van, from San Gabriel, Raven Ramos, from Culver City and Jasmine chow, from San Gabriel, joined nearly 1,000 people gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, in downtown Los Angeles, on June 5.

Meet the Asian Americans helping to uproot racism in their communities

Updated 5:00 AM ET, Sat June 13, 2020

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(CNN)It's a common rule in Asian American households: Don't bring home a black boyfriend or girlfriend.

And it's an order many young Asian Americans ridicule or challenge when talking with their parents. But it helps illustrate the racism and anti-blackness characteristic of some older Asian immigrants.
Joyce Kang, a 30-year-old Korean American from Washington, D.C., has heard her friends share similar experiences.
"Dating or marrying a black person is not preferred within the Korean community," Kang told CNN. "People have heard that said to them directly from their parents."
But George Floyd's death and nationwide protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement have helped change the discussion. Young Asian Americans are increasingly engaging in difficult conversations with their parents and community about uprooting their anti-black sentiments and supporting African Americans.
Kang decided to help by joining the "Letters for Black Lives" project and translating the open letter into Korean.
    The letter was written in 2016 after the shooting of Philando Castile, a black man who died during a routine traffic stop. Recently, however, it has been rewritten to include Floyd's death and to better reflect the current state of the nation.
    "Mom, Dad, Uncle, Auntie, Grandfather, Grandmother," the English version of the letter begins. "We need to talk. You may not have many Black friends, colleagues, or acquaintances, but I do. Black people are a fundamental part of my life: they are my friends, my neighbors, my family. I am scared for them."
    Letters for Black Lives have been translated into over two dozen languages.