South Korean supergroup BTS issued a statement on Monday night condemning the recent wave of anti-Asian violence and hate that is sweeping the U.S. and shared their own experiences of the racism they have faced for being Asian.
The statement, posted in Korean and English on BTS’ official social accounts, begins with the band offering their “deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones.” Although no specific events are mentioned, the statement comes after the March 16 shootings outside Atlanta, in which a gunman visited three Asian massage parlors and killed eight people, including six Asian women.
Mindful not to make themselves the focus, the band’s statement then highlighted moments when they “faced discrimination as Asians,” including enduring “expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look” and being “asked why Asians spoke in English.” The statement stresses that the band’s “own experiences are inconsequential” compared to recent events but that the racism was “enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem.”
The band stressed that “what is happening right now cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians,” and that they took their time to consider carefully how they would use their voice to speak up on the issue.
In a call to action, BTS ends the statement by affirming that “we stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected.”
Last year, BTS gave their public support for the Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police brutality that began in the U.S. and spread around the world. In June, BTS and their label Big Hit Entertainment donated $1 million to groups associated with Black Lives Matter, with further millions raised by band’s loyal global fanbase.
The full statement in English is below:
We send our deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. We feel grief and anger.
We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians. We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.
We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason. Our own experiences are inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks. But these experiences were enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem.
What is happening right now cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians. It required considerable time for us to discuss this carefully and we contemplated deeply on how we should voice our message.
But what our voice must convey is clear.
We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.