How to support Asian communities across the US

Asian Americans are facing a significant increase in racism and violence. Here's how you can help.

by Eda Yu
17 February 2021, 12:08pm

Illustration Myles Thompson

Since the pandemic began, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen significantly in the United States. In September, NYPD data showed an 1,900% increase in cases. The recent attacks and robberies against elderly Asian Americans have spurred a national call-to-action against anti-Asian violence, a year after coronavirus first appeared in the US.

Partly due to Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric about the “Chinese virus” and the blame cast on Chinese people as a result, anti-Asian violence has been steadily increasing over the last 12 months. An Asian woman was kicked in the face in New York last February. An elder was harassed and mocked while collecting cans in San Francisco later that month. A two-year-old girl, six-year-old boy and their father were stabbed at a Texas discount superstore in March. Another woman had acid poured on her while taking out the trash in April. An 89-year-old was slapped and set on fire in Brooklyn last July.

In August 2020, five months after the launch of Stop AAPI Hate (an initiative to prevent racism against Asian American Pacific Islander communities), the centre announced it had already received 2,583 reports of anti-Asian discrimination nationwide. Now, this last month has shown yet another sharp spike in anti-Asian violence — particularly against the elderly — as many Asian communities around the country prepared for Lunar New Year.

After 84-year-old Thai grandpa Vicha Ratanapakdee was killed on the street in San Francisco on January 28, attacks against elders seemed to exponentially increase. Three days later, a 91-year-old man, a 60-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman were attacked in Oakland’s Chinatown — the woman was left unconscious after the assault. Four days later, a 61-year-old Filipino man was slashed across the face on the subway in New York. His wounds required a hundred stitches.

Robberies and vandalism have also skyrocketed, with Asian-owned restaurants in San Francisco and Portland’s Jade District specifically targeted. Carl Chan, president of Oakland’s Chamber of Commerce, reported that he could confirm over 20 counts of robberies and assault in Oakland Chinatown this year alone, and that this represents only “a fraction of what has happened in Chinatown.” Chan speculates that the real number is likely higher due to business owners’ fears of reporting.

Here’s how you can help

Depending on where you’re based, there are many actionable ways to support Asian communities across the US. We encourage folks to raise awareness about these attacks, and report instances of anti-Asian assault through Stop AAPI Hate.

Visit your local Chinatown to support business owners. Many cities have started ambassador programs to help protect the safety of elders, and volunteering for one of these programs is an incredibly impactful way to support the cause.

In addition, folks are encouraged to advocate for Black and Asian solidarity and seek change through community action at this crucial moment.

Where to donate

Donate directly to victim GoFundMe pages, like this one for Vicha Ratanapakdee, or organisations that focus on community safety for Asian folks — especially those that work in solidarity with Black communities. We’ve worked with Sammie Ablaza Wills, the director of API Equality Northern California, to put together a list of community-oriented organisations in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York that are accepting donations. We encourage you to consider supporting these grassroots efforts if you’re able.

Bay Area

Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APENEJ) is currently leading the community organising force for rallies, ambassador programs and more in Oakland. Donate here.

Oakland Vietnamese Community Center (VACCEB) delivers 30k meals per month for over 2,500 community members, mostly elders. Donate here.

Asian Prisoner Support Committee supports API prisoners and deportees, and raises awareness about the impact of incarceration in the community. Donate here.

Chinese Progressive Association empowers the low-income and working class immigrant Chinese community in the Bay Area. Donate here.

Filipino Cultural Center helps Filipino families gain access to services and free and low-income resources. Donate here.

Asian Law Caucus promotes, advances and represents the legal and civil rights of Asian Pacific Islander communities, from housing rights to immigration. Donate here.

API Equality Northern California (APIENC) builds queer and transgender Asian and Pacific Islander power to amplify voices and increase the visibility of these communities. Donate here.

Stop AAPI Hate aggregates and responds to incidents of hate, harassment and more against Asian Americans in California. Donate here.

Save Our Chinatowns is a grassroots initiative that supports Oakland and San Francisco’s Chinatowns. Donate here.

Asian Health Services is part of the Oakland Chinatown Coalition. It serves and advocates for the medically underserved, including the immigrant and refugee Asian community. Donate here.

Los Angeles

Chinatown Community for Equitable Development (CCED) builds grassroots power with low-income and immigrant communities through organising, education and mutual help in LA’s Chinatown. Donate here.

Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA) works with Southeast Asian youth and their communities on leadership development, education, advocacy and community organising. Donate here.

Little Tokyo Service Center provides a comprehensive array of services to help low-income folks and others in need, while contributing to community revitalisation and cultural preservation in Little Tokyo. Donate here.

Ktownforall serves Koreatown’s homeless community members through direct aid and political advocacy. Donate here.

New York

CAAAV is a pan-Asian community-based organisation that works to build grassroots power across low-income Asian immigrant and refugee communities in New York City. Donate here.

Mekong NYC aims to improve the quality of life of the Southeast Asian community in the Bronx and throughout NYC. Donate here.

Womankind works with survivors of gender-based violence, with an emphasis on helping Asian communities find refuge, recovery and renewal. Donate here.

Heart of Dinner provides and delivers meals to Asian elders across the city. Donate here.

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