The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic brought a focus to our nation’s health as we’ve all worked to contain the spread of the virus. But, as the months of the pandemic wore on, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population faced another disturbing problem: an increase of intolerance and violence against them.
The nonprofit organization Stop AAPI Hate received more than 2,800 reports of incidents against Asian Americans between March and December 2020. These reports involved incidents ranging from verbal harassment to physical assault.
The March 16 attack in Atlanta that left eight people dead, including six Asian American women, is the latest event to shine a spotlight on anti-Asian sentiment in our country. President Joe Biden spoke out against the rising number of cases of Asian Americans being the target of hatred and violence as some people look to blame China for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’ve been attacked, blamed, scapegoated, and harassed. They’ve been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed,” Biden said after meeting with Asian-American leaders in Atlanta. “It’s been a year of living in fear for their lives.”
Since the shooting, people around the U.S. have gathered peacefully to stand beside Asian American families, friends and neighbors to show their support and raise awareness of the disturbing situation. Rallies in cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York brought together thousands of people to support the Asian American community.
If you want to support the Asian American community, here are five ways you can take action.
Report Anti-Asian Incidents To Stop AAPI Hate
Stop AAPI Hate is a nonprofit organization that collects information and data about violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. If you witness an incident, go to the organization’s website to document it.
Donate To Organizations Supporting Asian American Causes
New York Magazine compiled a list of more than 60 ways to support Asian communities. These groups help Asian communities through community restoration projects, social justice programs and legal defense organizations.
Learn How To Organize Locally
If you are looking for a more hands-on opportunity, research ways to help Asian Americans in your own community.
“We need to be able to contact our local (district attorneys) and the Department of Justice to discuss how we can deter (these crimes) and how we can prosecute them properly,” actor Daniel Dae Kim told USA Today. “There’s a lot we can do to foster understanding among communities. There are many community groups that have been created out of the ashes of this, like Compassion in Oakland, where they’re escorting Asian American elders from place to place so that they feel safe.”
Educate Yourself About America’s Anti-Asian History
Anti-Asian sentiment is not a new problem for our country. Taking some time to do some reading about how the earliest Asian immigrants were discriminated against and how it has progressed into the 21st century can help you understand the depth and complexity of anti-Asian racism. Or, watch the documentary series on PBS called “Asian Americans,” which tells gripping stories of Asian Americans throughout American history.
— PBS (@PBS) May 11, 2020
Support Asian American-Owned Businesses
Due to COVID-19 financial hardships and the rising prejudice against the Asian community, many Asian American-owned businesses closed their doors. The ones that remain are working hard to stay open.
Reader’s Digest found 30 Asian American-owned companies that people can support through online shopping. Whether you’re looking for new glasses, a decorative wallet, beautiful jewelry, clothing or even food and beverages, this list will have something you’ll love or want to give as a gift.