This month is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and we have the disheartening juxtaposition of celebrating the countless contributions of the Asian American community with coming to grips with the increasing rise in anti–Asian American violence. NBC news says that anti-Asian hate crimes in the US have nearly doubled in March 2021 alone, largely due to the erroneous association of the group with the coronavirus, a connection that was made by the past administration and has since mushroomed into a wave of hatred.
Here are three things we can all do to support the AAPI community:
1) Listen, read, and learn: Here are several articles I’ve read, recommended by the New York Times:
“Coronavirus and Infectious Racism” (scroll to the “Take Action” section) (Anti-Defamation League)
“Allyship Right Now: #StandForAsians” (Twitter)
“What You Can Do About Anti-Asian Violence” (Rolling Stone)
“Show Up: Your Guide to Bystander Intervention” (Asian Americans Advancing Justice [AAJC] and Hollaback!)
2) Act: If we see anti–Asian American bigotry in action, we have to step up. I signed up for a session hosted by Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) and Hollaback! on bystander intervention to stop anti–Asian American and xenophobic harassment. The session will address what to look for and the positive impact that various methods of bystander intervention have on individuals and communities. If you have experienced anti–Asian American
persecution yourself, you can share your story at standagainsthatred.org. You can also report a crime and read the latest reports on anti–Asian American racism at stopAAPIhate.org.
3) Support: I am donating $500 each to Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) and Welcome to Chinatown. I hope you will also support these or other organizations who are working to fight the tide of anti–Asian American racism.
I recently listened to a conversation about the rise of anti–Asian American violence featuring Jo-Ann Yoo, who is the Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. She started by saying that we can’t just stop at worrying about anti-Black or anti-Asian or anti-Latinx or anti-Muslim intolerance and bigotry in silos. “It’s all of us against racism,” Yoo said, and that is the truth.
Before 2020, I thought of myself as fairly well baked when it came to understanding the inequities of society and doing my part to contribute to something better. But now, with so much laid bare, I’m realizing that this isn’t the case, and I can and should be listening and learning and doing more.
I’m writing this because we all need to hold ourselves accountable and ask ourselves, “What have I done lately to make the world a better, fairer place?” And if we can’t answer that question in a fully satisfying way, why not?
We must all commit to being antiracist, to not being bystanders. We need to find ways to create what should not have to be fought for: racial and socioeconomic equity. And we can make these differences in ways large and small, all of which have an impact. I’ve realized over the past year that being confused and overwhelmed and even nervous about my place in the conversation isn’t an excuse for sitting back and doing nothing.
I thank you for reading. I’ll see you on Saturday with recipes, and I hope we can all continue sharing these important conversations.