#StopAsianHate is a new hashtag that has been trending in recent months all over the world. This is not just any hashtag, but a way for the Asian community to band together and make a statement about recent racist attacks.
The COVID-19 pandemic sparked completely unwarranted boycotts of Chinatown restaurants and shops in Pittsburgh and around the globe. This also brought a higher percentage of hate crimes against the Asian community. Harassment, lack of representation, microaggressions, and scapegoating all contribute to the discrimination faced by Asian-Americans every single day. The rhetoric used by a former U.S. leader of “the China virus” and “kung flu” through the pandemic may have sparked the influx of anti-Asian racism, while also spotlighting it.
As a result, discrimination towards the AAPI (Asian-American and Pacific Islander) community is at an all-time high. Along with this, eight people, most of them Asian women, were killed in three shootings at Atlanta-area spas before police arrested the 21-year-old white man responsible for their deaths.
In response to these attacks, more than 300 people gathered in Oakland on Sat., March 20 for a “Stop Asian Hate” protest against anti-Asian racism. Thrash the State, a skate collective run by queer people of color and trans and gender-nonconforming people, organized the action.
Despite differing opinions on different strategies, many speakers agreed that consistency in activism is important. Several speakers also emphasized that while people of color are disproportionately affected by white supremacy, white people are responsible for dismantling it. Although most white people have not been directly affected by recent hate-crimes, it is important that they take action.
In Pittsburgh, about 6% of the population is Asian. The Center for Loving Kindness at the Jewish Community Center has been prepping anti-hate and love-your-neighbor signs of solidarity to hang in the windows of Asian-run businesses. The center’s leader said, “We can show our support in many ways such as shopping at Asian-owned businesses and reaching out to our neighbors and friends who may be frightened and traumatized to listen to them and comfort them.”
You may have heard the phrase “silence is violence.” This is referring to a situation where someone is being attacked, harassed, or bullied and bystanders do nothing to intervene and stop it from happening. If you witness or are targeted in an anti-Asian hate crime, or if you have information about an ongoing investigation, it is imperative that you report it immediately to the police and then file a report to the FBI which you can do here. Asian Americans Advancing Justice has a website where you can report hate incidents (in multiple languages), read reports from others and find legal resources. You can also report incidents on behalf of yourself or someone else in multiple languages on Stop AAPI Hate’s site.
If people who are committing these horrendous crimes are not punished, they will continue to happen. One very effective way to lower the number of hate crimes is to hold people accountable and treat the situations as seriously as they are.
Supporting Asian Businesses is another way that you can help. While the restaurant industry as a whole has struggled throughout the pandemic, Asian restaurants have been struggling particularly hard and have been subject to racist attacks due to xenophobic fears surrounding the coronavirus. You can show your support by visiting or ordering takeout from AAPI-owned businesses in your community.
From services like your local takeout and salons to your upcoming shopping needs, there are plenty of Asian-American businesses that provide great products we stand by. Here are a few of our favorite Asian-owned restaurants in Pittsburgh amongst many others:
To be an ally means to unite yourself with another to promote a common interest. Just because you may not be a part of the Asian community, the black community, or the LGBTQ community does not mean you cannot stand with the members of these (and more) various communities that are constantly being discriminated against. In an alliance, both parties stand to benefit from the bond or the connection they share. Injustice for one is injustice for all. If you are interested in living in a more peaceful society where equality is prevalent, it is important that you use your voice now when inequality is so obvious.
It can even be helpful to look into taking a bystander intervention course. An anti-harassment organization Hollaback! has partnered with Asian Americans Advancing Justice to provide free bystander intervention training that will give people the tools to step in if they witness anti-Asian harassment. Their intervention methods are known as the Five D’s (distract, delegate, document, delay, direct). Hollaback! Also hosts free webinars to help people learn how to assess a situation and choose a suitable response.
Many people are trying to show their support through social media which can be very helpful to spread awareness and share resources. However, it is important that you double-check resources and make sure you are not sharing anything with misinformation. It can also be easy to get into the habit of sharing a post on social media and feeling like that is all you can do. We encourage you to go beyond the virtual walls of social media and help in other ways as well even if it is simply checking in on your friends, family, and coworkers of Asian descent and see how they are doing.
It is important to stay informed and educate yourself. You can stay educated through news articles, documentaries, and news programs that feature information on the subject. Netflix’s “Amend” touches on anti-Asian history in its sixth episode. You can also consider reading books by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors. This website of Anti-Asian Violence Resources has a number of news articles that can help you understand what has been happening over the past year or so.
There are several organizations you can donate to to support the Asian community. One of which being Stop AAPI Hate. Stop AAPI Hate compiles reports of hate crimes against the Asian community throughout the U.S., provides support to victims of these crimes and produces reports on these incidents that help advocate for social and political protections for the community.
You can find 68 different places to donate to the Asian community here including victim memorial funds, community-restoration organizations, community-enrichment organizations, policy reform and social justice organizations, legal defense organizations, and LGBTQ and gender-based organizations.
Money will not solve these deep racist problems rooted within our society but with enough funds, these amazing organizations will be helpful to help provide services and resources to those in the Asian community.
Those lives that were recently lost due to AAPI hate deserve to be honored. It is important for us to mention that the man responsible for their deaths was a millennial. Racism is not something that is only instilled only in the older generations. It is being passed down to the younger generations as well. To ignore the situation and assume racism is going away is a very naive way of thinking. To see a difference, we all must stand up for each other to stop racism in all its forms in the United States. Hate is a virus that can be stopped if enough people are involved in stopping it.