It has been one year since the Stop Asian Hate movement swept the nation, and we’re wondering: where are we now? Have we made any progress? The answers depend on who you ask.
Despite awareness campaigns and legislation like the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, there has been a surge in racist attacks against the AANHPI (Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander) community. San Francisco has been no exception. Last year, an 84-year-old father was killed while taking his daily walk in his San Francisco neighborhood. And that was just one of many horrific incidents in the city.
As of January 2022, the Bay Area alone has seen a 567% increase in attacks on the AANHPI community (no, sadly, that’s not a typo). Nearly half of all incidents occurred in public spaces such as parks or public transit systems.
Last year, we raised $5,000 along with our creator partners to donate to the Asia Pacific Fund in San Francisco and published educational resources to drum up interest and support. This year, we want to do more—starting by checking in with our creator community on how they’re doing and feeling.
So, what, if anything, has changed in the last year?
We caught up with two Bay Area natives and Off the Grid creators. First, we talked to Gemma Ballesteros, the owner of Marley’s Treats, a San Francisco bakery that offers macarons, cakes, and cupcakes.
We also spoke to Elly Suraya Greenfield of Satay by the Bay, which specializes in Singaporean Halal street food. Both ladies shared their perspectives on the Stop AANHPI Hate movement one year later.
Here’s what they had to say.
Do you feel that we’ve made any progress over the last year?
Gemma: “I do think we’ve started making progress. There’s more awareness and media presence around the issue.”
Elly: No, but it’s not because the government failed. People know it’s wrong to mistreat others, but you ultimately can’t stop a few bad people.
Is the community still dealing with fear?
Gemma: Initially, I was scared for my parents. My dad has mobility issues, and my godmother and my friend’s mom were attacked. However, I think now the fear has moved to something else.
Elly: I never felt scared for myself, but I was scared for my dad. I told him not to come to visit because I didn’t think he’d be safe. I would say the community is still dealing with fear, and we have to be more aware of our surroundings. I feel very blessed that we have never had an incident that affected our family or food truck.
Beyond legislation, are there other ways you’d like leaders to support the community?
Gemma: I think they’re doing enough.
Elly: I’d like to see local leaders strengthen their commitment to keeping people safe. I want them to encourage people to speak up and empower them to advocate for themselves.
Aside from petitions, how would you like others to support the AANHPI Community?
Gemma: Just be more aware of your surroundings. Lend a helping hand where you can.
Elly: I would like others to educate their kids, the next generation, to do better. Ultimately, though, I’d love for us as a community to continue to be strong together and live without fear.
How Can You Support the Bay Area AANHPI Community?
As Barbera Mikulski once said, “Each one of us can make a difference. Together, we make a change.” All of us can do our part to make our community safer for our AANHPI friends and neighbors. Here are a few different ways you can step up and support the local AANHPI community:
- Choose to learn. Check out the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project. Or Google’s cultural hub dedicated to Asian American and Pacific Islander Experiences to learn about the diversity within the AANHPI community.
- Teach about AANHPI history and culture in your classroom. If you’re an educator, Stop AAPI Hate has put together resources on talking about anti-Asian racism with students. Also, consider the books you read to students. Diverse books are critical to kids developing empathy. Parents has compiled a list of children’s books featuring AANHPI characters.
- Go from bystander to upstander. Organizations like Right to Be host free training on safely intervening when you see street or workplace harassment. Check out their free guide on the 5Ds of Bystander Intervention.
- Support local AANHPI businesses like Marley’s Treats or Stevie B.!
- Volunteer your time. Organizations like Compassion in Oakland are looking for volunteers to participate in foot patrols, assist with social media, and chaperone community members (especially the elderly) so that they can run their errands safely.
- Donate to local nonprofit organizations focused on the AANHPI community, such as Compassion in Oakland or the Oakland Chinatown Coalition.
- If you see something, say something. If you see an attack against a member of our San Francisco community, contact law enforcement immediately.
I was the Target of a Hate Crime. What Do I Do?
If you’re the victim of a hate crime, please know there’s help. Call 9-1-1 to report it to your local police department. Follow up by submitting a report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Off the Grid Stands Against AANHPI Hate
We at Off the Grid stand in solidarity with our AANHPI neighbors and friends. To continue showing up for our local community, we’ll be hosting a fundraiser alongside a handful of our creator partners to benefit the Cut Fruit Collective.
Launching next week, creators will be donating 10% of their sales for the week, which Off the Grid will match. Stay tuned for more detail on our social channels.
You can also report the incident to Stop AAPI Hate (which has multiple language options).