A string of horrific attacks, hate crimes, and discrimination targeting people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the Bay Area have cast a simmering problem into the public spotlight—and we can no longer sit silent.
Between March and August of last year alone, there were 2,583 self-reported incidents of anti-Asian discrimination nationwide. More than 40 percent (or 1,226 of reported cases) came from California—708 of which were in the Bay Area alone. The majority of incidents took place in San Francisco, followed by San Jose and Oakland.
Some shocking local attacks were caught on video. They include an assault on Vichar Ratanapakdee, an elderly Thai man in San Francisco, who later died, and this footage of a 91-year-old Asian man in Oakland’s Chinatown, who both were violently shoved to the ground. The xenophobia extends to Asian American kids, too, with a reported 1 in 4 experience racist bullying.
California legislators and individuals within our community have stepped up to support the local Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in various ways. Last month, legislators approved $1.4 million in state funding to help combat AAPI violence and racism through the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center. The money will be used to support Stop AAPI Hate’s research and help the organization track anti-Asian incidents.
Even with these public statements of support, however, communities still report being fearful of public spaces. Hundreds have begun organizing safety walks for elderly Asian Americans who normally go out in Oakland unassisted. And we’ve partnered with the City of Oakland to deliver healthy, fresh meals to seniors in need to help them stay home and stay safe. We’re still exploring how we can do more to support.
From donating money to worthy causes to attending online training sessions, here are some ways you can contribute to an environment of safety, inclusion, and empathy for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Here’s a list of local efforts and organizations working to stop anti-Asian hate crimes & support the community.
1) Stop AAPI Hate: A reporting center formed by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies department to collect reports of anti-Asian discrimination nationwide. You can support their efforts by either donating to the cause here or taking action to let your representatives know your thoughts on how they voted on this house resolution condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment.
2) Asian Pacific Fund: A community foundation that supports nonprofit and philanthropic organizations that serve the most vulnerable members of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the Bay Area. Last year, the foundation mobilized $1.25 million that was distributed in grants to local nonprofits addressing the rise in anti-Asian racism, increased bullying, and higher fatality and unemployment rates faced by Asians due to Covid. You can support their efforts by donating today.
3) Asian Americans Advancing Justice: A national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. This website is a place for people to openly and honestly tell their stories and report instances of abuse.
4) National Council of Asian Pacific Americans: A coalition of 37 national Asian Pacific American organizations around the country that serves to provide a collective voice and represent the interests of the greater Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander communities. You can take action by staying engaged and participating in the census pledge.
5) Compassion in Oakland: Founded this year by four Bay Area activists to coordinate safety measures for Oakland community members through volunteer-organized escorts for people fearful of public violence. If you are in the area, you can volunteer as an escort using this Google form.
6) AAPI Progressive Action: A political advocacy group that works to increase the political representation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through policy support, voting campaigns, and candidate advocacy. A donation supports efforts to get community members into positions of power.
7) Chinese for Affirmative Action: A progressive advocacy group working on both community and federal levels to protect the safety and equality of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. You can donate to their work or apply to volunteer as an interpreter or translator to aid their community work.
If nothing else, you can educate yourself and speak up to put end to xenophobic hate crimes.
Beyond donating, speaking up and sharing valuable reporting resources, there are many different ways that you can help to confront the rising racism towards Asian American and Pacific Islander communities as the pandemic continues. Here’s where you can start:
- Hollaback!: An anti-harassment nonprofit that provides safety and intervention training for marginalized communities. The organization collaborated with Asian Americans Advancing Justice for free online bystander intervention and de-escalation training for allies and community members. You can sign up to participate here.
- IMPACT: A self defense nonprofit based in California’s Bay Area, has online safety courses. You can register for the “Interrupting Oppression” Zoom course or a personal safety online course.
- Teaching Tolerance Project: The Southern Poverty Law Center published a guide to responding to racism toward Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read up and educate yourself.
In addition to these resources, there are simple things you can do to stop the spread of xenophobia that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, including discouraging jokes that blame certain groups or countries for the spread of the virus and sharing accurate and accessible information surrounding the pandemic.
You can also encourage someone affected by discrimination or harassment to report their experience on Stop AAPI Hate and reach out to local officials to emphasize the need for policy that extends resources to Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and small business owners.
The time to act is now. Join us in the rallying cry to #StopAAPIHate by donating to community organizations, supporting victims, and sharing stories that are typically silenced.