Eyes Open #21


Welcome to the latest puzzle in my ongoing series, Eyes Open, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights protests.

Only two days ago, numerous television channels broadcast See Us Unite for Change — The Asian American Foundation in service of the AAPI Community, a special to celebrate Asian voices and show unity in the face of ignorant, race-driven attacks on the Asian American community.

“See us defy expectation,” said tennis player Naomi Osaka.

“See us make history,” said basketball player Jeremy Lin.

“See us create change,” said actor Daniel Dae Kim.

There has been a surge of violent attacks against Americans of Asian descent during the pandemic, but this problem has existed far longer than the current Coronavirus crisis. Asian and Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in both government and pop culture, and both groups are victims of severe stereotyping and marginalization.

[Image courtesy of Jason Szenes/EPA.]

It was only two months ago that eight people were killed during a rampage in Atlanta at three spas/massage parlors, and six of those people were Asian women. And despite the protests against Asian-American violence across the country, it feels like this news story vanished into the ether not long after it happened.

I never once heard the names of the victims, so I want to mention them here: Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, and Yong Ae Yue. (Delaina Ashley Yaun and Paul Andre Michels also lost their lives in the murder spree.)

Simply placing the names of the victims in a grid didn’t feel like an appropriate response, but I still wanted to do something about Asian culture as one of May’s puzzles.

Since May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I tried to both highlight the history of the month itself and celebrate Asian culture by exploring holidays and celebrations that could be incorporated into the calendar to increase visibility of AAPI culture for the average American.

I hope this puzzle serves to both engage you as a solver and encourage you to stand up for our Asian and Pacific Islander neighbors. America only works when the melting pot includes everyone, and members of the AAPI community contribute in incredibly valuable ways every day.

eyes open 21 grid image

[Click this link to download a PDF of this puzzle.]

If you have suggestions for more topics for me to cover in future puzzles, please let me know. If you’re a person of color and you’d like to share a puzzle of your own, or to collaborate with me on a puzzle, please let me know.

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, and you have ideas, please let me know. If you’re a trans person, or a non-binary individual, and you feel underrepresented in puzzles, please let me know.

I would like this to become something bigger, but hopefully, this is at the very least a start.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for standing up, speaking up, and fighting the good fight.

Support LGBTQIA+ people.
Believe women.
Black lives matter.
AAPI lives matter.

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