You may be wondering what you can do to help the Asian and Asian-American communities, amid a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus across the U.S.
This week, eight people – most of them women of Asian descent – were killed Tuesday night in three shootings at Atlanta-area spas before police arrested a 21-year-old man suspected of being the lone gunman.
Stop AAPI Hate, a group that tracks acts of discrimination and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, found nearly 3,800 incidents of hate, discrimination or attacks on Asian Americans from March 2020 through February 2021.
New anti-hate crime legislation is set to be introduced in both chambers of Congress, following executive orders from President Joe Biden addressing the attacks.
Here are some keys was you can aid the communities, from donating to organizing to educating and more.
A man holds a portrait of late Vichar Ratanapakdee, left, an 84-year-old immigrant from Thailand, who was violently shoved to the ground in a deadly attack in San Francisco, during a community rally to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence and racist attitudes, in response to the string of violent racist attacks against Asians during the pandemic, held at Los Angeles Historic Park near the Chinatown district in Los Angeles, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (Photo: Damian Dovarganes, AP)
Where to donate to help Asian communities, and how to organize
A host of organizations could use your donations, including but not limited to:
- Armed Patrol Security Guards for Oakland Chinatown
- Hate Is A Virus
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice
New York Magazine has a list of over 50 ways you can support the Asian communities.
Read before you share resources. As is typical with social media, many people share social posts on platforms like Instagram and Twitter offering statistics, resources and places to donate. Make sure the ones that you’re sharing are rooted in facts, because even the most well-intentioned person could spread misinformation.
Learn how to organize. Actor Daniel Dae Kim told USA TODAY earlier this month that a lot can happen on a local level: “We need to be able to contact our local (district attorneys) and the Department of Justice to discuss how we can deter (these crimes) and how we can prosecute them properly. There’s a lot we can do to foster understanding among communities. There are many community groups that have been created out of the ashes of this, like Compassion in Oakland, where they’re escorting Asian-American elders from place to place so that they feel safe.”
Reach out to your Asian friends and colleagues – but don’t ask them to educate you.
Anti-Asian racism – like any form of racism – isn’t new.
Read up on the history of and present day anti-Asian racism in the U.S. This can be done through news articles and books. Consider documentaries and news programs that feature information on the subject. Netflix’s “Amend” touches on anti-Asian history in its sixth episode. Consider reading books by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors, too.
“The Real” host Jeannie Mai told USA TODAY last month she doesn’t think white Americans are educated enough about Asian history or culture.
“I don’t think our school system is catered around educating us what we really need to know,” she said.
Remember that racism can be unlearned. Mai added: “Racism is taught. And it may not be your parents sitting you down telling you specifically like, ‘Don’t trust those Asians. Don’t be friends with Black people.’ No, I think it’s in every grain of your upbringing.”
In order to unlearn racism, you need to question your own privileges, take a look at the media you consume and accept the fact you will make mistakes. Also, apologize and own up to your mistakes.
Margaret Cho, in a recent NBC News segment, said there is room for improvement when it comes to Asian representation in entertainment.
“Just now, we’re starting to see more Asian Americans in TV shows, in movies, but on a very peripheral basis,” she said. “And it’s not exactly a stereotype, but we’re not all super rich and we’re not all crazy rich. It’s not all ‘Bling Empire’, which, I love those shows and movies, but at the same time, it enforces this narrative that we are untouchable and invisible, which is kind of a volatile combination when it comes to violence.”
Movies like “Minari,” “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Boogie” feature different types of portrayals.
Sometimes your first instinct may not be the best instinct when reaching out to friends or colleagues. CNBC’s Make It has a helpful tips for those looking for guidance in the workplace.
One key point: Don’t ask “How are you feeling?” or “Is there anything I can do for you?” as this puts the onus on them. Consultant and author Kim Tran suggests saying something more like: “I know the news is stressful. Can I help you with anything workwise?”
What to do if you see anti-Asian racism
Get proper training. Hollaback!, an organization working to end harassment, is working with Asian Americans Advancing Justice on free bystander intervention training geared to aiding the Asian and Asian-American communities. You can sign up here for that as well as conflict de-escalation training.
Follow safety tips. Stop AAPI Hate recommends these five safety steps if you are a witness to anti-Asian racism:
- Take action. Go to the targeted person and offer support.
- Actively listen. Before you do anything, ask – and then respect the targeted person’s response. If need be, keep an eye on the situation.
- Ignore attacker. Try using your voice, body language or distractions to de-escalate the situation (though use your judgment).
- Accompany. Ask the targeted person to leave with you if whatever is going on escalates.
- Offer emotional support. Find out how the targeted person is feeling and help them determine what to do next.
Contributing: USA TODAY staff and The Associated Press
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