6 Ways You Can Support the Asian Community Even After Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month is Over
Posted on May 24 2021
Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, Asian communities around the world have faced a wave of racial discrimination, xenophobic attacks, and hate crimes amid the coronavirus. In major U.S. cities, hate crimes against Asian Americans went up nearly 150% in 2020. A coalition of Asian-American groups that had created a reporting center called STOP AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) HATE revealed that almost 3,800 hate incidents were reported over the course of a year during the pandemic. The increase of violence and inflammatory rhetoric have caused deep mistrust, anxiety, and fear among Asian communities.
In the US, the month of May is officially designated as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month where we highlight and recognize the history, heritage, achievements of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have contributed to America’s diversity and success. But as the month slowly comes to an end, our efforts in fighting against racism and discrimination shouldn’t just end here. With the massive surge in intolerance and hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, here are 6 ways you can do to continually support the Asian community even after Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month is over.
Support AAPI-Owned Businesses
Purchasing from Asian-owned small businesses is one of the best ways to demonstrate your support. Small businesses around the globe have been heavily impacted by the pandemic but Asian-owned businesses suffered the biggest hit. Many of them were unable to secure government assistance due to language barriers and fear of impacting their immigration status. Many Asian-owned businesses were also looted, vandalized, and destroyed which made their dire situation even worse. Supporting AAPI-owned businesses can help owners get back on their feet.
Take Action Against Anti-Asian Racism
You can make a choice to actively and visibly take a stand against harassment. If you see racially motivated acts of violence and/or hatred, you can always do something to help de-escalate the situation. It can feel good to stand up for someone. However, it’s important to know how to respond to hate incidents and/or hate crimes safely and effectively. Bystander Intervention is a training program by Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC that offers free de-escalation training adapted to support the AAPI community. You can find out more about how to participate in these training sessions here.
Volunteer to Help Those Most Vulnerable
Vulnerable populations such as the elderly and youth have been victims of violent Asian-hate crimes across the U.S. As a result, many of them experience fear of leaving their homes, which prevents them from doing necessary things like going to school or seeking medical attention. Compassion in Oakland is an initiative that was formed in response to the surge of anti-Asian attacks -- particularly in California’s Bay Area. They offer chaperoning services for elderly Asian Americans in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood. You can apply to become a volunteer here or make a donation here. Similarly, Hate Is a Virus, a nonprofit community is running a CommUNITY Action Fund to provide community services and programs related to mental health, elderly protection, AAPI representation, solidarity-building and more. To join their efforts, you can visit their site here.
Take Time to Learn About Asian-American Experience & History
There are countless contributions and challenges experienced by Asian Americans. But, much of Asian American history still remains unknown to many Americans. It’s important to learn about the extraordinary impact that Asian Americans have made in help building the very fabric of our nation. PBS is currently streaming a five-hour film series titled, “Asian Americans” that delivers a bold perspective on Asian American history. You can watch the series here.
Talk About It With Friends & Family
There are numerous ways to be an ally and champion solutions for social change. Talking to your friends and family about racism is one way to do so. According to Teaching Tolerance, a program dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for children, establishing a safe space to facilitate meaningful conversations about racial issues can “help reflect on your own experiences with racial inequality and deepen your understanding of racism”.
Check In With Your Asian Friends & Colleagues
Sometimes a phone call, text message, or email to a friend can be just the thing to brighten up someone's day. Check in with your Asian friends, colleagues, co-workers, and neighbors to see how they’re doing and offer them your support. Reaching out to them should come from a sincere and genuine place so make sure you know your relationships before doing so.