Fighting against the rise in AAPI hate crimes

Hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have dramatically risen, calling the Asian community and allies alike to take a stance

Photo+by+Jason+Leung+on+Unsplash.com

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash.com

Sage Spohn, Editor-in-Chief

Nearly a year after George Floyd’s death, the streets are once again flooded with protesters fighting against racism and discrimination. This time, however, it is because of the recent world-wide rise in Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Outrage has erupted throughout the country after the mass shooting in Atlanta on March 16, where eight people were killed, including six Asian-American women. Although it was stated that the suspect only acted to suppress his own desires regarding the establishments he targeted without racial motives, infuriated citizens took action by lining the streets and protesting xenophobia. However, this is just one of the many targeted attacks made against the Asian community that has often been disregarded by the United States. 

This tragic event has brought much more awareness to the issues surrounding the surge of Asian hate crimes since the beginning of the pandemic. According to an NPR article, “Hate crimes against Asian Americans in 16 cities rose by 150 percent in 2020.” Terms such as “China virus” and “Kung-Fu virus” have been ignorantly used to blame and condemn China for COVID-19, and these derogatory terms have also fueled the attacks made against the Asian community. However, the pandemic is not the start of anti-Asian racism in America nor can we blame COVID-19 on China.

Xenophobia is also present in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding towns and suburbs, though not as severely as in large cities. “I have experienced common microaggressions, but I am extremely lucky in the fact that I have not experienced anything too extreme,” stated junior Avia Weber. “For me, when I witness the stories seen in the national headlines, my heart instantly breaks. As an Asian adoptee living in a white household, I often find it hard to identify as fully Asian. When I see people who look like me being killed, I question whether my inherent privilege by living under a white household allows me to relate or feel scared,” Weber added. Although these crimes are not as common locally, social media exposes viewers to the targeted attacks made against the Asian community every day. 

In larger cities, however, hate crimes against the Asian community are much more dangerous and on the rise. From stabbings on the streets, to assault, harassment, and many other violent acts, city streets are riddled with racially motivated attacks against AAPI people.

“I’ve witnessed some discrimination against the Asian community firsthand but mostly on social media and on the news. Just yesterday, my cousin sent me a video of an Asian man on a subway in New York getting brutally beaten to the point that he passed out,” said junior Maggie Chi. She stated that in the video, “you don’t see anyone coming to the Asian man’s aid or attempting to diffuse the situation” Victims who are not getting help along with actions like these that go unnoticed, are becoming far too common. However, awareness is being spread with the help of social media.

Videos and photographs have revealed the brutality that the Asian community has been facing in the past year and many more before that, and more people are beginning to stand up. Instagram accounts, Tik Tok videos and many other organizations spread awareness by showing the violence that often goes unnoticed. 

There are many ways to act as an ally and take action. “Social media is the biggest tool right now,” said Weber. “I am sure to promote other Asian’s work. Whether it is through sharing instagram content or any monetary donations, I focus on amplifying their voices.” From promoting Asian creators and businesses, stepping in when you witness AAPI racism, or just spreading awareness, anything is a step in the right direction.

“I know that many people are afraid to help when they see something like this happening, but there really is power in numbers,” Chi added. “We can educate ourselves and others around us. Education needs to go beyond the bare resources offered for Asian American Heritage Month every May.”

If you ever feel like you are not doing enough, here are some resources to help you make an impact. From donating, reporting an attack, or stepping in, we can all work together to make a difference.

How to help: 

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