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#StopAsianHate: how to support the Asian community in the US

Asian Americans have been increasingly subjected to hate crime, racism and abuse in the US. Here is how you can take a stand against it.

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#StopAsianHate: how to support the Asian community in the US
EDUARDO MUNOZ REUTERS

Alarmingly, hate crime, racism, harassment and abuse aimed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) is on the increase in the US, culminating with the cold-blooded murder of six Asian women, in Atlanta, Georgia last week. Eight people were killed and others injured in three shootings at Young’s Asian Massage parlour, the Aromatherapy Spa and Gold Massage Spa on Tuesday evening. The victims were identified by Fulton County officials as Soon C. Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong A. Yue, 63, Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Xiaojie Tan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44 – all of Korean descent. A suspect, a 21-year-old white man, has been arrested and detained in connection with the shootings.

Biden and Harris condemn hate crime and racism

While it is still not known what prompted the Atlanta shootings, or whether the victims were targeted because of their race or ethnicity, it is the latest and most disturbing in a spate of racially-motivated attacks on Asian Americans. The Georgia killings have prompted police departments to step up patrols and visibility in Asian American communities around the country. According to Stop AAPI Hate, 3,795 cases of hate-crime offences have been reported since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic - the majority being verbal abuse, but 11% involved physical violence. Hate crimes against Asian Americans in 16 major cities rose by 149% during 2020 compared to the previous year, according to the latest report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

During his visit to Atlanta on Friday, US President Joe Biden condemned escalating hate crimes against Asian Americans and vowed to confront racism and violence.” Asian Americans have been attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed. They've been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed. Our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit. We have to speak out. We have to act," he said during his visit to Emory University.

Members and supporters of the Asian-American community gather during a 'Peace Vigil' for victims of Asian attacks, at Union Square in New York City on March 19, 2021.

Cynthia Choi, Co-Executive Director at Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) in San Francisco, home of the largest Chinese enclave outside of Asia, tweeted, "The fact that we have so many vulnerable members of our community that feel unsafe being in public spaces, that should be a concern to not just the Asian American community, but to everyone."

The problems of the world are inevitable, without end and should never be blamed on one race, ethnic group, community or country. No race is superior or inferior to another. Underneath, we are all the same and we should remember that we can learn a lot from other cultures.

What to do if you witness a hate crime

If you see racism happening at school, in public or online, do not just ignore it, stand up to it. Approach the targeted person, introduce yourself, and offer support. It is important to ignore the attacker, stay calm, use discretion to peacefully placate the situation. Accompany the targeted person if the situation escalates, invite them to join you in leaving. You can offer them emotional support by asking how they’re feeling, if they are ok. Assist them in figuring out what they want to do next.

There’s lots of safe ways that you can help. In Oakland, California, volunteers have stepped up offering to escort elderly members of the Asian community home or while out shopping so that they can feel safe. Other people have helped financially – a GoFundMe page set up by Randy Park to help Hyun Jung Grant’s two sons after their mother was killed in the Atlanta shooting has already raised over $2.4 million. Apart from being orphaned, they have funeral costs, legal costs and in the short-term, living costs including rent and bills to pay.

You can help in other ways, such as by reporting hate crimes to Stop AAPI Hate. You can support or donating to local community groups such as Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA); contact your local Asian community services or social care organisations to find out how you can help. In the words of vice-president Kamala Harris, speaking in Atlanta yesterday, “"Racism is real in America and it has always been. Xenophobia is real in America and always has been, sexism too. "For the last year, we've had people in positions of incredible power scapegoating Asian Americans. Ultimately this is about who we are as a nation. This is about how we treat people with dignity and respect”.