Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have increased by 150% across the U.S. and by 833% in New York City alone. In one of the latest acts of violence, six women of Asian descent were shot and killed just last week by a white man in Georgia. The AAPI community is grieving, as is our country as a whole. We at KE’ALA BIKINIS stand in solidarity against the hate crimes, violence, and racism toward the AAPI community. We believe not just in words but also in actions. Here are 7 ways you can help to combat hate crimes against the AAPI community.
1. Educate Yourself on the Situation
Knowledge is power. Educating yourself on the current situation is an important first step to combat hate crimes against the AAPI community. The AAPI community has been a growing target of racial discrimination and bigotry, largely among people who have falsely placed blame for the coronavirus pandemic on individuals of Asian descent. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been upwards of 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents, ranging from verbal harassment to physical assault, civil rights violations and more. This number does not even include unreported incidents or those that have not been classified as hate crimes. Most recently, six Asian women were shot and killed by a white assailant at three Asian-owned day spas in Atlanta, Georgia on the evening of Tuesday, March 16th. This is absolutely heartbreaking, saddening, and infuriating. Knowing about these incidents, and understanding how they fit into the broader context of racism and racial violence, is absolutely critical. If you need a place to start, you begin by following Instagram accounts (@StopAAPIHate, @GoldhouseCo @NextShark) and hashtags (#StopAsianHate, #StopAAPIHate, #HateIsAVirus) for reports, resources, and news related to hate against the AAPI community.
2. Check In with Yourself and Those Around You
Take time to check in with the people around you, and with yourself. The shock and grief associated with moments like these can be intensely overwhelming, so being sure to support one another is critical amidst efforts to combat hate crimes against the AAPI community. Remember to be intentional and consistent with your check-ins, as change does not simply happen overnight. The fight for racial equity is a marathon, not a sprint, so be sure to look for your mental health and for that of the people around you. We are all in this fight together!
3. Hold Yourself and Others Accountable
Our actions and our words are incredibly powerful, which is why we must combat hate crimes against the AAPI community by taking accountability for ourselves and for the people around us. If you witness an incident of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, or child bullying against an individual(s) of Asian American or Pacific Islander descent, you should report the incident immediately. Any of these or related acts are absolutely unacceptable. In addition, we must be accountable for our words, as they are powerful and may not only hurt people, but also perpetuate stereotypes or spread falsehoods. By taking greater responsibility for our words and actions (and those of the people around us), we can contribute greatly to making each and every person feel worthy and accepted.
4. Donate to AAPI-Focused Organizations
One of the most actionable ways you can combat hate crimes against the AAPI community and spread awareness is by donating. There are a number of organizations with various missions that will allow you to have a tangible, direct impact on the AAPI community:
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Atlanta) – donations will support victims of the March 16th shooting as well as their families
- CommUNITY Action Fund – donations will finance national and local programs to amplify and educate AAPI to stand for justice and equality in solidarity with other communities
- Support the AAPI Community Fund – donations will fund organizations focused on community safety and support for those affected by violence
- Asian Mental Health Collective – donations will fund efforts to normalize and build a community for Asian mental health support
- Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund – donations will support the protection and promotion of civil rights for Asian Americans
- Asian American Advocacy Fund – donations will fund grassroots efforts to build a more politically-conscious, engaged, and progressive Asian American base in Georgia
- Asian American Journalists Association – donations will support trainings and educational programs that advocate for diverse newsrooms to ensure fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs and other communities of color
- AAPI Women Lead – donations will support efforts to address gender and racial-based discrimination against and within the AAPI community
- Enough is Enough – donations will support Asian American business owners in New York City looking to raise awareness about hate crimes and provide free meals to the underserved
- Save Our Chinatowns – donations will support Chinatown communities in the San Francisco Bay Area through art, conversation, and food
These are just some of the many places you can donate, so if you have the financial means, find an organization whose mission you connect with and make a donation today!
5. Support AAPI-Owned Businesses
Supporting AAPI-owned businesses can significantly help efforts to combat hate crimes against the AAPI community. AAPI-owned businesses (especially restaurants) have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, and many have even been boycotted or vandalized. From shopping online to calling in your favorite takeout order and everything in between, there are many AAPI-owned businesses you can support with and beyond your community. You can even take it one step further by advocating for assistance to small businesses through your local City Council, Chamber of Commerce, or Small Business Association.
6. Support Local AAPI Grassroots Events
Attending and spreading awareness about local grassroots events is another great way to combat hate crimes against the AAPI community. Rallies, marches, protests and other demonstrations are crucial not just for providing support, but also for amplifying and empowering AAPI voices. This past weekend saw several demonstrations all across the country honoring the victims of last week’s Georgia shooting and promoting solidarity with the AAPI community. Sandra Oh made a surprise appearance at a Stop AAPI Hate rally in Pittsburgh on Saturday and urged attendees: “I will challenge everyone here, if you see something, will you help me? If you see one of our sisters and brothers in need, will you help us?” Be on the lookout for events taking place in your local area. You can find updated lists of vigils and rallies by state, and a number of larger cities like San Francisco have been publishing scheduled “Stop Asian Hate” events that will take place in the coming days.
7. Live with Compassion
We must remember that behind all of the numbers and statistics, our efforts to combat hate crimes against the AAPI community affect real people with real lives dealing with real hatred on a daily basis. Each of the victims of last week’s shooting in Georgia had their own names and each had their own stories. Most of the victims were devoted mothers, some were immigrants, and one was an Army veteran. Each of their lives mattered:
- Soon Chung Park
- Hyun Jung Grant
- Suncha Kim
- Yong Ae Yue
- Delaina Ashley Yuan
- Paul Andre Michels
- Xiaojie Tan
- Daoyou Feng
Their time was cut far too short, and each of their lives deserves to be recognized and celebrated. The targets of this shooting and of hate crimes all across this country could have been our brothers or sisters, our parents or grandparents, our friends or coworkers, the strangers we passed on the street…the list goes on. We at KE’ALA BIKINIS believe strongly that the key to long-lasting change lies in everyday action, and that the pathway forward must be paved with compassion and love – not bigotry and hate.
What we do today affects not only our generation, but also many generations to come. We would love to hear how you are supporting efforts to combat hate crimes against the AAPI community. We all have the power to make a positive change, and we must not stop fighting until we achieve racial justice for all.