This Is How You Can Take a Stand Against AAPI Hate
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a disturbing increase in anti-Asian hate speech and violent crimes, not only in the United States, but worldwide. This steep rise in reports of racism, hate speech, discrimination, and violent physical attacks targeting Asians and the Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has undoubtedly been fueled by racially-charged references to the coronavirus as the “Kung-Flu” or “China Virus” after its initial outbreak in Wuhan.
Society has somehow become so comfortable with anti-Asian sentiment that a startling 39 percent of adults in the United States agreed that “it is more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views about people who are Asian than it was before the coronavirus outbreak,” according to a Pew Research Center survey in June of 2020. That’s why it’s more important now than ever before to break this troubling mindset and stand up for the AAPI community.
To be clear, anti-Asian hate is nothing new, unfortunately, as noted by historic atrocities that go as far back as the 1800s, such as the Rock Springs Massacre and the Chinese Massacre of 1871, as well as the persistence of damaging stereotypes and the model minority myth. However, these horrifying incidents have risen over the past year, as evidenced by a nearly 2000-percent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City alone, according to NYPD data. Furthermore, Stop AAPI Hate — a reporting center established by Asian-American groups to track acts of discrimination and xenophobia against the AAPI community — received reports of nearly 3,300 incidents in 2020 across all 50 states, and they’ve already received reports of more than 500 incidents so far in 2021. These numbers only reflect the incidents that are being reported, of course, and there is great concern that there are far more crimes against the AAPI community — particularly against women and the elderly — that are not being reported nationwide.
It shouldn’t have to come to such horrific circumstances to urge people to support the AAPI community, but the most recent crime to push this movement forward is that of a 21-year-old white man who went on a killing spree across three Asian-owned spas in and around Atlanta, Georgia on Mar. 16. This resulted in eight deaths, six of whom were women of Asian descent, and it has left a glaring lack of hate crime charges in its aftermath.
This is obviously a particularly painful time for the AAPI community, so be sure to check in on your Asian friends and community members. But, remember that it is not their responsibility to educate you. We all have an abundance of resources at our fingertips to help us stand in solidarity against racism in all its forms and, most of all, against the white supremacy that fuels it all. That said, here’s how you can support the AAPI community now and going forward.
How You Can Help the AAPI community
From education to donations, there’s always something that can be done to take action against racial injustice. If you have the financial means to contribute to organizations with the power to fight injustice or provide resources for the AAPI community, that’s always a great place to start. However, you don’t need to spend a single dime to stand up for your Asian and Pacific Islander brothers and sisters. You can also use your voice to demand legislation from government officials, and speak out against anti-Asian speech and acts that you witness, including microaggressions among family, friends, and even yourself. You can also volunteer your time to support your local community, and just generally educate yourself on the AAPI experience to gain a deeper understanding of why this is such an important issue.
Also, if you are a member of the AAPI community and are seeking support at this traumatic time, the subtle asian mental health Facebook group has been reportedly offering free one-on-one supportive listening sessions.
Donate to AAPI Organizations
New York Magazine has collected an ever-growing list of organizations that could use donations to support and enrich the AAPI community on both local and national levels, including:
You can also donate to an organization close to you through Movement Hub, a collection of 40 AAPI partner organizations addressing anti-Asian racism, and providing resources to promote cross-racial unity in collaboration with AAPI Civic Engagement Fund.
Learn About the AAPI Experience
The Will Smith-hosted Netflix limited series Amend: The Fight for America takes a look at the fight for equal rights in the United States, and touches upon the AAPI experience in the sixth episode, in particular. There are also many pieces of fiction and non-fiction literature that offer an eye-opening looking into the Asian-American and Pacific Islander experience, including:
Educational Resources to Stand Up for the AAPI Community
It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to speaking up and speaking out, but the following resources offer important tips to help combat anti-Asian sentiments on varying levels.
Political and Community Outreach
It’s important to make known any incidents of anti-AAPI hate that you have experienced or witnessed to help coalitions develop policies for advocacy. It’s also crucial to urge politicians to create legislation that supports equality. Here are a few ways that you can make a difference on a local and national level.
- Anti-Asian incidents can be reported through Stand Against Hatred and Stop AAPI Hate.
- The murders in Atlanta have urged the House of Representatives to hold an anti-Asian racism hearing on Thursday. With this political push, now is the time to reach out to your elected officials to ask what they are doing for the AAPI community, including intervention, prevention, anti-racism education, civil rights protections, and condemning acts of hate.
- Volunteer your time or assistance by reaching out to local organizations, such as this community effort to help safely escort eldery AAPI folks in and around Oakland, California, or through SafeWalksNYC and Protect Chinatown.
- Small businesses and restaurants need more help than ever due to stay-at-home orders over the past year. Make an effort to seek out Asian-owned businesses in your community and support them with your patronage, or find other ways to make a difference through Send Chinatown Love.
No matter how big or seemingly small, every action truly does make a difference to support the AAPI community. Most of all, it is incredibly important to hold others and ourselves accountable to move towards change and awareness.
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