It's Time to #StopAsianHate
The Situation at Hand
In the past year, the United States has seen a sharp increase in incidents of discrimination against the Asian community. Occurring primarily in the form of verbal threats and abuse, but ranging from physical attacks to public shunning, these acts have caused enormous amounts of undue stress for the Asian community. In the previous years, behavior like this may have gone unrecognized. But, the time for silence and iaction has long since passed. The first step towards social progress is to speak out against injustice, which has not been an uncommon experience among many different groups in this country. Collegiate Women in Business would like to stand with our friends across all cultures and ethnicities, and show our support by using our voice to advocate for equality and kindness.
According to Stop AAPI Hate, there have been over 3,000 incidents reported since the beginning of 2021, with the majority of cases being reported by women of East Asian descent. The U.S. is now averaging about 100 cases reported per day, as of April. Elderly individuals have been some of the primary victims of these attacks, and are at greater risk of sustaining severe injuries from these interactions. Communities across the country have witnessed Asian businesses take a hit, as well, as many have fallen victim to burglaries, racist vandalism- as seen in the threats against a San Antonio business owner in this report, and threats of violence. In response, individuals and business-owners in the Asian community have felt the need to take their personal security into their own hands and alter their daily lives in order to protect themselves and their livelihoods. Businesses have reduced their hours, heightened the security measures around their storefronts, and called upon law enforcement in response to the growing threat of racially-motivated attacks.
As the world continues to deal with the physical and psychological effects of the pandemic, it’s important to remember the power of kindness. These acts of violence and verbal abuse are horrifying, and the undue stress and trauma this behavior inflicts on the Asian community is unacceptable. Whether or not the situation at hand may affect you, there are ways you can help by using your voice and your actions to stand up against the hate. Here are some of the ways you can get involved in #StopAsianHate, as well as some resources for further reading.
Supporting Your Friends
The first and most important step you can take is to educate yourself on the current and historic state of racism against the Asian community in America. Not only has Asian-American history often gone overlooked in the classroom, but the representations and ideas we may have about the Asian community can also be riddled with stereotypes and misinformation. Resolving these issues through education is an easy and effective way to combat racism at its source. Here are a few resources to get you started:
A brief article providing an overview of the history of racism against Asians in America, beginning in the late 1800s.
A short interview between NPR and Dale Minami, a professor of Asian American studies at U.C. Berkeley and a practicing lawyer, discussing the nature of Anti-Asian racism in America.
And, a film by PBS about the history of Asian Americans, their successes and their struggles.
Training in bystander intervention to prevent and neutralize racist harassment is also becoming more widely available, if you would like to take your education to the next level. Learning how to safely approach these incidents in order to offer support to the victim or de-escalate the situation will help you keep others safe, as well as yourself. The Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Hollaback! organizations have recently collaborated to provide bystander intervention training specifically for instances of anti-Asian racism. In these training seminars, you will learn actionable ways to help if you witness or are the target of race-based harassment. These online seminars are totally free to attend, and you can register beforehand for any of the dates listed on their website here.
Intervene and Report
On the topic of intervention, only do so if it is safe for both you and the targeted individual. This can be a tricky decision to make, so it is always better to air on the side of caution. Stop AAPI Hate has several rules that may help if you find yourself in a position to safely intervene in a tense situation, including:
Actively listen before taking any actions.
Ask bystanders for support.
Respect the targeted person’s wishes.
Offer to accompany the targeted person.
Offer the targeted person emotional support and help with next steps.
If it is not possible to intervene, then the next best step is to report the incident. If you see an instance of racially-motivated harassment or violence, help the targeted individual report what happened to the relevant authorities. If the situation is threatening to the safety of anyone involved, 911 should be called immediately. Any incidents should also be reported to the police after the fact, so that local law enforcement and the community may be aware of any patterns of violent or disturbing behavior. For the sake of public awareness and records, incidents of anti-Asian racism may also be reported to Stop AAPI Hate’s reporting website here.
Lend a Hand
There are other small ways you can help your Asian peers, friends, and neighbors that can make equally as big of a positive impact on their lives. The idea of going out into the world to do something as simple as buying groceries or mailing a package may seem more stressful and dangerous than before, especially for elderly individuals. If you have the time and resources, try offering to help run a few errands, or ask them personally if there is anything you can do to help them out. Something as simple as taking the time to listen to how they feel about the current situation and what is causing them stress can also be just as impactful.
If you are interested in keeping up with real-time updates from across the country and briefing yourself on the latest statistical reports, the first place to go is Stop AAPI Hate. They routinely update their website with the latest news articles, interviews, and other news media covering the spread of anti-Asian attacks and the efforts being made to respond to them. They also create their own incident reports, if you’re interested in reading about first-person accounts and statistical data. You can also report incidents via their reporting site, mentioned previously. This website is a combined effort between San Francisco University, The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, and the Chinese for Affirmative Action organization.
Additionally, a great source for ways to take action in the fight against anti-Asian racism is StopAsianHate.info, created by Joey Ng, the VP of Marketing for the brand Output. They provide links to volunteer opportunities across the country if you want to be a part of the action, as well as to causes requesting donations if you’re short on time. The causes span from nation-wide anti-racism organizations, to fundraising efforts for the victims of racist attacks. News stories, social resources, and ways to share and learn about #StopAsianHate online, are also available on the site.
Lastly, I wanted to mention the Asian Mental Health Collective. This non-profit organization was founded to help the Asian community share and address their personal struggles with mental health, a topic often repressed within the community. Here, you can read about the mental health struggles others have faced through their articles and community blog, and access a variety of online communities and mental health resources. Aside from their website, they also have a Youtube channel where they talk with mental health professionals about issues impacting the Asian community and address common personal struggles with mental health. And, they have a podcast of a similar nature, found here.
To Hokies living on campus or looking to get involved closer to home, there are a variety of resources and organizations available. The Asian Cultural Engagement Center and the Asian American Student Union are two great organizations that serve Asian students by offering resources, hosting events, and providing a place to connect with other students. These organizations help students of all backgrounds and ethnicities learn about and experience Asian culture.
The Office for Diversity and Inclusion at Virginia Tech has also partnered with the Asian Cultural Engagement Center to create content focusing on AAPI issues, some of which can be found on the InclusiveVT website. InclusiveVT is a program created by Virginia Tech to publish content, hold events, and provide resources to help further diversity education on campus.
Additionally, if you are experiencing or have experienced any incidents of racially-motivated harassment on campus, you can report it here.
To see Virginia Tech’s public statement regarding the rise in AAPI hate, click here.
In the spirit of Stop AAPI Hate’s founding values, let’s “lead with love.” Whether or not this situation may affect you, remember that we are meant to support and uplift each other. Every day is an opportunity to be kind and express care and gratitude for those around us. All of us have the power to stand up for what’s right, and in doing so, we can empower our neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family to do the same to #StopAsianHate.
By: Lauren Miles