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The recent hate-crimes toward the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community have stirred up many emotions for me. As a Japanese and Filipino woman, I’m afraid. I’m angry. I’m disgusted. I’m grieving for those who have lost their loved ones. I’m worried for my friends and family. But being my highly optimistic self, I am also hopeful for change in our future, especially with this generation of people who are amplifying their voices and making steps toward change.

Although, it is important to note that these racist actions toward the Asian American and Pacific Islander community aren’t anything new. They’ve been taking place for years. However, with the rise of COVID-19, these hate-crime events have been heightened at an alarming rate. 

Just in 2020, it was noted that “Anti-Asian hate crimes in 16 of American’s largest cities increased 145%”. The organization Stop AAPI Hate reported that from March 2020 to February 2021, they received 3,795 incident reports. And these are only a fraction of the incidents that have occurred because many times they go unreported. Many go unreported because of language barriers, distrust in the government, or as ABCNews suggested, "(Asians are) having to overcome, just the history of anti-Asian racism that people have experienced in this country."

A lot of these statistics can be overwhelming and difficult to digest. But if you are motivated to learn more and how you can support your AAPI friends, I’ve highlighted some influencers who are using their platform to spread awareness and even provided you with some resources to help educate yourself.

How to Support your AAPI Friends
  1. Acknowledge the recent events and give your friends and peers space to grieve and heal.

  2. Reach out to your AAPI friends, but don’t ask them to educate you.

  3. Don’t ask your friends “How are you doing?” or “Is there anything I can do for you?” because CNBC said, “[it] can create an emotional burden for the recipient in their response”. Instead, consultant and author Kim Tran suggested asking something along the lines of, "I know the news is stressful. Can I help you with anything?" 

  4. Donate to a charity. The Editorial List put together a list of charities on their website that will help to support the AAPI community.

  5. Educate yourself. Read anti-racism books and follow AAPI organizations and influencers. The Editorial List also put together a list of books, organizations, and influencers that'll help educate you.

  6. Support Asian businesses and brands. The Redtri listed some local Asian businesses in Seattle that we can support. For example, the grocery store Uwajimaya that's located in Seattle, the restaurant Musang that’s located in Beacon Hill, and even Firehouse Coffee in Ballard.

Influencers

Olivia Munn: According to Olivia’s Instagram bio, she’s a “Proud Asian American” who was born from a Vietnamese mother and a German-Irish-English father. Many of you may know Olivia from movies like the X-Men: Apocalypse, Buddy Games, I Don’t Know How She Does It, and much more! One thing that I found interesting is that when Olivia was beginning her acting journey, she was told that she was “Too White” to play the Asian character and “Too Asian” to play the White character. However, recently, Olivia has been using her Instagram platform to help amplify the outrage of these recent issues and be a voice for the AAPI community.

Amanda Nguyen: Amanda is a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, a Civil Rights activist, and the founder of Rise, which has “helped pass groundbreaking federal legislation that created the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights”. With the current events, Amanda has been using her platform to share resources and is also celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by posting old photos of her relatives and wearing an áo dài, which is a national Vietnamese garment.

Sandra Oh: If you’re a Grey’s Anatomy lover like me, you will know Sandra as “Cristina Yang” from the show. In 2018, Sandra became the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for an Emmy for her lead role in the tv show Killing Eve and won the “Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama” in 2019. In her Instagram bio, Sandra provides her followers with several different online resources that will help to support the AAPI community. In her most recent post, Sandra posted a text photo with the hashtag “itsanhonorjusttobeasian” and said, “Let us ALL join together to #stopasianhate”.

Daniel Dae Kim: Actor, Producer, and Director, Daniel Dae Kim starred in The Divergent Series: Insurgent movie, as well as in the tv series, Lost. Recently, Daniel was inducted as an Icon Judge to help select the A100 Nominees who are being recognized as 2021’s Most Impactful Asians & Pacific Islanders. Daniel is very active on his Instagram account and shares resources, stories, and photos daily. In a recent post, Daniel announced that there's “an unprecedented 250 million dollar effort dedicated to serving the 23 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the US.” He added that “Asian American Foundation (TAAF) is a non-profit organization focused on accelerating opportunity and prosperity for our entire #AAPI community.”

Resources

Anti-Asian Violence Resources Card: This resource card is full of great information. It shares statistics, links to the latest news articles, resources, and organizations that are dedicated to fighting Asian hate. It also provides information on how you can be an ally of the AAPI community.

Stop AAPI Hate: This organization is all about taking a stand against racism, and they said, “Together, we can stop it”. This link, specifically, offers “5 Things to Consider When Experiencing Hate” as well as lists “5 Ways to Help If You Witness Hate”. 

Video posted by: Jack Frootx: Warning: This video may be disturbing. It highlights some of the recent attacks on the AAPI community with video footage. It does put things into perspective as well as highlights the violent reality that the AAPI community is currently facing.

Self-Evident Show (Podcast): This is a new resource that I’m excited to listen to. NBCNews said, this podcast “aims to challenge assumptions about Asian Americans”. You can listen to it through the “Podcast” app on your iPhone as well as Spotify.

Gold House: The Gold House Company “forges the inclusive unity, representation and success of Asians and Pacific Islanders”. Just a few days ago, Gold House announced their nominees for their 2021 A100 list. With the help of some successful judges, they helped choose some of the most impactful Asians and Pacific Islanders. Some of the nominees include Vice President Kamala Harris, tennis champion Naomi Osaka, and Zoom Founder and CEO Eric S. Yuan. 

With May being Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I think it’s important to educate yourself and learn about how you can help be an ally toward your AAPI friends and community. 

And I agree with what Sandra Oh said because “I too, am honored to be an Asian”. 

Taylor is a senior at Seattle Pacific University, studying Communications and Digital Media. Her dreams of becoming the head of the social media department for a fashion magazine, have inspired her to write for her schools Her Campus chapter. In her spare time she loves videography, shopping, cheering, and she’s always down for an adventure. Find her on Instagram @taylorhiroyasu.
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