Lucy Liu understands the anxiety plaguing the Asian American community right now. As hate crimes against Asians in the U.S. increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the actress says she’s fearful about going in public with her 5-year-old son, Rockwell.
“I don’t feel relaxed enough to take my son out without having a plan,” she tells Women’s Health. “I don’t improvise and explore the city, which is the whole point of being in New York City. I was born and raised here. I chose to live in a cosmopolitan place because I feel safer in it. These attacks have really created a vulnerable feeling, not just for me but for so many other people.”
Liu, who is the magazine’s May 2021 cover star, calls the recent violent incidents “terrifying” and “outrageous,” explaining she has come to a stronger stance about the power of labels.
“This proves, without a doubt, that words matter,” the 52-year-old actress says. “It clarifies that when violence happens, [it’s because] the seed has been planted through thoughts and words that give people permission to act out their frustrations and anger. People who use [racist] words, or who don’t use their words to protect other people, are complicit — regardless of what side or color you represent in the political atmosphere.”
That’s why Liu, who kept a mostly apolitical stance in public throughout her decades-long career, felt the need to speak up given recent events.
“Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to go there,” she shares. “I’m willing to do that because I don’t want other people to feel unsafe. I want some of the people who think this is okay to know that this is not okay.”
Liu adds, “If I have a voice and I can use it for the better, and if it can help influence people to go out and vote…”
The Charlie’s Angels star notes that Asian Americans haven’t voted at the same rate as white Americans in the past. “We don’t think our voices matter, and they do.”
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