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.
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.
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.
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.