We're coming close to a year since the pandemic upended the lives of everyone across the U.S. At the same time, we've been outspoken, protesting and unfolding the injustices in our country. While we continue to fight for Black lives, another community has been facing racist and xenophobic attacks at an alarming rate. Shortly after Donald Trump and others started referring to the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus" or "Kung flu," we saw increasing cases of hate crimes toward the Asian community. One organization alone received more than 2,808 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate across 47 states last year, while the NYPD reported a 1,900 percent increase in racist attacks. While the new administration is making strives to combat these actions, there are more ways you can get involved and help the Asian community right now without leaving your home:
The easiest way to support the Asian community is by donating. Whether it's $1 or $100, any amount can support businesses, elevate non-profits and raise funds for families who lost loved ones due to violence. Here are a few funds and orgs you can contribute to today and forever:
- Welcome To Chinatown supports small businesses and community leaders in NYC's own Chinatown.
- Stop AAPI Hate lets you report any hate crimes directed at the Asian community. The organization takes this data and uses it to develop resources and fight for policies to be made.
- Asian Pacific Fund works with 80+ nonprofits in the Bay Area, benefiting public health, education and civic engagement, to name a few. You can donate to a specific org or have your donation split to assist multiple charities.
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice advocates for the civic and human rights of Asian Americans through education, policy reform and legal support.
- Asian Mental Health Collective advocates making mental health more accessible to the Asian community through their interview series, resources and podcast.
- AAPI Women Lead focuses on fighting for Asian women and girls right through their #ImReady movement (which was inspired by the #MeToo movement).
- Support Vicha Ratanapakee's family. The 84-year-old Thai American was attacked, pushed violently to the ground and later died due to his injuries. The culprit has since been arrested and charged. This GoFundMe is to develop a memorial legacy fund to support his children and grandchildren.
2. Raise awareness
Social media is a great tool to raise awareness of these issues. Reposting, retweeting or sharing information with your followers can motivate others to take action. It's even more powerful to use your platform to amplify Asian creators, activists and businesses. Take Amanda Nguyên, a civil rights activist who shed light (and made a call-out to news outlets) on all of the violent attacks that occurred in the last couple of weeks. There are also a host of designers, like Jocelyn Chung, who are making colorful and bold designs that educate people on these issues. It's important to note that you shouldn't use social media to gaslight individuals or pressure people to watch or engage in your post. There are times where videos of attacks or detailed stories can be triggering or hinder our mental health.
3. Support Asian-owned businesses
Speaking of boosting creators and activists, support local businesses. Asian-owned businesses have also faced burglaries, destruction and overall, a loss of money, due to both the pandemic and racist motives. So, check out your nearby restaurants, shops and even these small businesses:
- Franca is a Brooklyn-based ceramic shop with playful and modern handmade mugs, planters and even dog bowls.
- Rooted is an online plant-shop where you can shop for rare plants (with actual names like Elton, Bianca and Hermes), supplies or a DIY potting kit.
- Nguyen Coffee Supply is a woman-owned business that sells specialty coffee with arabica and robusta beans straight from Vietnam.
- Live Tinted is a beauty brand that offers products catered to all skin tones, like the Huestick, HueGlow and Unity Balm Gloss.
3. Volunteer your time
If you're from the Oakland area, community organizer Jacob A created Compassion in Oakland. This volunteer group accompanies elders on walks throughout the day to provide them with safety and security. They also have the option to do community outreach and speak with local businesses in the city. If you're located outside of the Oakland area, look into local orgs or any of the nonprofits above to volunteer your time (whether in-person or virtually).
4. Create an open dialogue
Gather your family, friends and/or coworkers to discuss what's happening. This should be a safe space where you start a conversation and ask questions on how we can do better, support or understand the injustice. It's time to connect and reflect, asking questions like "What do you think about what's going on to the Asian community?" "What have you done today to focus on your mental health?" "Do you need a break from the news/work/school today?" Consider dividing into topics of racism, privilege and/or microaggressions while providing each other resources and/or tools to be more involved, informed and educated on the current issues. We can't continue to ignore and be afraid of having these tough conversations with each other.
5. Report incidents
As mentioned before, Stop AAPI Hate's site lets you make a report of any racist or discriminatory incidents toward the Asian community. So far, the organization has had over 2,000 anti-Asian attacks reported. This data source shows the harsh reality of how men, women and children are treated due to racism and xenophobic attacks. But aside from bringing national awareness, the organization hopes they can use this resource to demand and enact policies to stop the growing hate crimes towards this community.
Aside from this site, don't look away or stand by the sidelines when someone is being discriminated against. Use your voice or get help immediately (especially if that individual is endangered or hurt). Nothing gets done when we let things stay the way they are. Sometimes sharing something is simply not enough.
6. Educate yourself
There are countless books, documentaries and podcasts to inform you on the Asian American experience and history. You'll have a better understanding of traditional racist systems, stereotypes and discriminatory behaviors. For example, many aren't aware of the "Model Minority Myth," which stems from racial violence and actions being overlooked based on the notion that Asians have more privilege than other BIPOC groups. Therefore, the myth highlights they don't "actually" experience any discrimination. This is just one of many assumptions that we were taught. Educating yourself dismantles these ideals and teaches us about movements, policies and rhetorics. Here are a few documentaries and podcasts to take a look at:
- Asian Americans is a five-hour PBS series that focuses on the history of Asian Americans in the United States.
- Ulam: Main Dish explores Filipino cuisine and how it's been a staple in American culture.
- Deported is a five-part docuseries that focuses on themes that shaped the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities when it comes to immigration.
- Dear Asian Americans bring together host Jerry Won and other Asian Americans with a diverse range of careers—entrepreneurs and doctors, physicians and nonprofit executive directors—to discuss their heritage and the legacy they're creating along the way.
- Asian America: The Ken Fong Podcast sheds a light on culture, history and spirituality with a special guest every episode.
- Asian Enough is a podcast that invites celebrities and politicians (like VP Kamala Harris and Padma Lakshmi) to share stories on identity and what it means to be Asian in today's America.
The last thing to remember is don't ask someone from the Asian community to educate you on these issues. Don't force them to watch, share or retell traumatic experiences. They can be a source, but only if they're comfortable enough to guide or teach you. We hope these seven ways can be a stepping point in making a change and giving a spotlight to these voices.