AAPI Heritage Month: How to be an Ally to the AAPI Community 🧡
As May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’d like to take a moment and reflect on the increase of anti-Asian hate crimes this past year. From March 19, 2020 to February 28th, 2021, there have been over 3,700 anti-Asian hate crimes reported. The sharp increase of violent attacks has included physical assault, verbal abuse, and much more.
The discrimination against the AAPI community has always been apparent in society. This dates all the way back to 1882 when the Chinese Exclusion Act was imposed and 1942 when Executive Order 9066 exiled Japanese Americans to internment camps.
The issue of racism is systemic and built up over generations: it is up to everyone to come together in order to reverse these mentalities and create a positive change. We encourage everyone to take a moment and follow along for the history of AAPI in the United States and donate in any way possible to the non-profits helping the AAPI community.
Why have hate crimes against AAPI increased this past year?
Anti-Asian hate has existed for well over 100 years in the U.S., but the NYPD reported that AAPI hate crimes had gone up 1900% in 2020. These are shocking numbers, especially when we consider that hate crimes are often underreported and the true number may actually be far greater than what the statistics are telling us. So why has this huge spike occurred?
Not long after the 45th President, Trump, referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus” and “Kung Flu,” internet videos began to circulate showing attacks on AAPI in America. The harsh rhetoric was despicable, but the continuance of hate crimes today indicates a deeply rooted racial issue within the fabric of the American people. This is a systemic issue that can only be resolved when each person chooses to recognize and reflect upon their own, possibly, unconscious biases.
How has racial division affected other races besides the AAPI community?
The Japanese phrase shikata ga nai translates to “nothing can be done”. For the AAPI community, racial divisions are often endured with this mentality. This mentality has been instilled due to the feeling of being defeated, and feeling as if there’s no point in making noises when change seems impossible. Yet looking around in 2020 and 2021, we can see more clearly than ever that racial divisions cannot be ignored. They do not only impact one community; it is a ripple effect that influences everyone.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” If we are silent and not standing up when we see injustice around us, we enable divisions to continue.
Battling against the racial divide that pits one minority against another begins with each of us as individuals. Reflecting upon our own values or having one conversation with a loved one can truly have a chain reaction of acceptance and inclusivity that encourages a more compassionate view of each one of us.
Image: Jason Redmond and Getty Images
What can you do to support the AAPI community? Here are some resources for you to be an ally!
Learn about the History of the AAPI Community
To learn more about the history of the AAPI community’s impact in shaping the United States for the past 200 years, visit these websites for a plethora of short documentaries and stories.
Donate to Non-Profit Organizations supporting AAPI
Stop AAPI Hate
Stop AAPI Hate is addressing anti-Asian discrimination amid the pandemic. The organization was founded by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
This national organization fights for civil and human rights for all Asian Americans. It also includes the AAAJ Asian Law Caucus, the country's oldest civil rights organization dedicated to serving low-income Asian communities.
In order to prevent these hate crimes from progressing, we must come together and unite. Your voice matters! By being aware and speaking up against these hate crimes, not only are you spreading awareness on this issue, but you’re also showing your alliance for the AAPI community. A great conversation guide to understand the challenges the AAPI community face can be found here: Living Room Conversations.
During this tough time for the AAPI community, you can show your alliance by supporting AAPI businesses, donating to AAPI nonprofits to help, and having conversations with your loved ones. We believe that your voice and actions can make a huge impact.
This blog post is brought to you by Michaela Krum and Nancy Nguyen. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for taking the time to read through this blog. ❤️