Mar. 24—West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong bared his chest during the board meeting Tuesday night‚ revealing a vicious scar from injuries sustained in the U.S. Army and saying he won’t tolerate anyone discriminating against him.
“I have put up with a lot of (expletive) in silence, excuse me the language, too afraid to speak out, fearing more abuse and discrimination,” Wong said.
During the elected officials’ comment section of the meeting, Wong shared his personal history, saying he moved to the U.S. from China when he was 18 and suffered a beating in Chicago because of his race a few years later. He served 20 years in the armed forces and received the scar while he was at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.
He then calmly took off his tie, unbuttoned his dress shirt, pushed the shirt aside, stood and pulled up his undershirt to show the old wound.
“There are some people that will come up to me and say I don’t look American, or patriotic enough, now that really gets my goat …,” he said. “I’m getting a little hot on this issue here. People question my patriotism, that I don’t look American enough, They can’t get over this face. I want to show you something, I don’t have to live in fear, intimidation, insults … Here is my proof, this is sustained from my service in the U.S. Army, is this patriot enough?”
Wong’s speech came a week after eight people, six of them Asian women, were gunned down at spas in the Atlanta area. Wong told the Journal-News he didn’t do it because of that incident but said if people stay quiet, the violence will continue.
Since the shooting, he said a friend who owns the Oriental Wok in Northern Kentucky has had his restaurant vandalized several times. That is partly what prompted him to speak.
“I am always considered an outsider, that’s not right and they are just getting bolder and bolder,” he told the Journal-News. “I’m just afraid it might come down to what’s happening in Atlanta, sooner or later if we don’t speak up.”