Charles Melton says he will “no longer remain silent” about his experiences as a Korean American. 

On Friday, March 19, Melton penned a column for Variety about how he has “reexamined my roots” in recent months. The Riverdale star said he grew up “suppressing” his Asian identity—and, “Today, that all changes.”

He wrote, “With the continued rise in horrific hate crimes towards my community, I have been in deep introspection by recalling my own experiences, unpacking my past, and trying to understand it all.”

The actor went on, “Through it, I’ve realized that I never stood up for my Korean heritage. I’ve willfully ignored the racism and microaggressions directed towards me and my people. I failed to defend my heritage in fear of retribution. And now I can’t help but wonder what I did to contribute to the violence against Asian Americans.” 

He started out by explaining that his Korean mother married his father while he was stationed overseas as an Army soldier. He and his sisters were later born in Alaska.