For journalists Dion Lim and CeFaan Kim, reporting on the surge in attacks against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities hits differently than other crime stories.
Lim, an anchor/reporter in the Bay Area, has reported on many alarming attacks, including an 84-year-old Thai man who died after being tackled in San Francisco, and a 91-year-old Chinese man who was violently shoved to the pavement from behind in Oakland.
A major part of her beat is talking to victims and their families after the crimes have been committed. “As a journalist, you want people to trust you and share and believe in you enough to tell their story that it’s a privilege,” she explained. “But then, on the other hand, it’s almost like a burden to bear.”
That burden, at times, has been very heavy.
“I’m gonna be fully transparent and admit this, but I had to take two mental health days very recently, because I just broke down because I felt like I was the torchbearer for Asian Americans,” Lim told TheWrap. Despite reporting on countless crimes over the course of her career, Lim said there was one incident in particular that she couldn’t forget: the story about an Asian man — who was immobilized after suffering a stroke — watching in horror as his wife was robbed at gunpoint and physically unable to do anything.
Despite being on the opposite coast, NYC-based reporter CeFaan Kim echoed Lim’s sentiments.
“They’re all kind of personal to me, if that makes sense, right?” Kim said. “You look at a 71-year-old, like last week, or whatever it was two weeks ago. She reminds me of my mom. My mom was, you know, in her late 60s a few years back and got mugged. And she fought back. And you know, I feel like it’s not just an Asian thing, right? It’s a human thing.”
Like Lim, Kim has reported on a slew of violent anti-Asian crimes, including a 36-year-old man who was stabbed in the back while walking in Chinatown and a 52-year-woman who was thrown to the ground in Flushing, Queens.
“I don’t think that any one of these particularly stands out because, yeah, some of these assaults are more egregious than others,” Kim said. “But the trauma for each one is still very real, right? Trauma has an interesting way of sort of embedding itself in your brain.”
Watch the video above to hear more from Dion Lim and CeFaan Kim on how they’re staying safe while on the front lines and the challenges they face as reporters on this beat, and read TheWrap’s full interview with Lim and Kim here. For more resources, visit StopAAPIHate.
J. Clara Chan contributed to this report.