Like many, I am absolutely sickened by the attacks on Asian-owned Atlanta spas this week. The surge in hate crimes against Asian-Americans this year is atrocious and unacceptable.
It’s easy to say, “this is awful, but what can I do about it?” and feel like this is an unsolvable problem, but it isn’t. There are a lot of ways we can, and should, help. So I’m rounding up a few places to start here today. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a start.
My heart goes out to my Asian friends, readers, and online family members–I know this an incredibly hard time. Additionally, to the victims of this week’s attacks–Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Julie Park, Hyeon Jeong Park, all Asian women, and additionally to Paul Andre Michaels, and others who have yet to be released–as well as their friends and family.
How to Support the Asian Community Right Now
Like I have said before, and I’ll say again, I always see a lot of “thoughts and prayers” comments after events like this happen. (And no, it is not lost on me that I have to say, “when things like this happen”–that they are a common occurrence in today’s world.) While thoughts and prayers are nice, it’s important to remember that action is where change gets made.
There are many ways you can take action to support the Asian community and help prevent the spread of hate and hate crimes, but if you’re not sure where to begin, here are some ways to do so.
Thank you to the countless friends, readers, Instagram accounts, and more, who have been sharing these various resources around social media. I cannot take credit for creating or even finding them, but I can help spread the word about them!
Donate and Volunteer:
There are so many organizations that are worthy of your dollars if you are able to contribute! The AAPI community fund on GoFundMe splits your donations between several grassroots organizations. I also recommend researching local organizations that you can donate to in your own community.
NY Mag also did a really great roundup of 61 ways to donate in support of Asian communities. Many of the organizations listed are local to New York, San Francisco or Chicago. Many of these have ongoing volunteer opportunities as well! Also, google is your friend–research ways to get involved on a grassroots level in your own town and community.
Contact your elected officials:
At ALL levels! If you live in Atlanta, hold your local representatives accountable as details of this case unfold and go to trial. Contact your representatives in congress and ask what they are doing to stop this surge of hate crimes against the Asian community. Dig into punishment for hate crimes at your local level and contact your state officials advocating to make them stronger.
Additionally, while I understand this can’t be said for all hate crimes, I believe what happened in Atlanta particularly intersects with gun control legislation. Atlanta has no waiting period to purchase guns, thus, it has been reported that Robert Aaron Long was able to purchase his murder weapon and kill 8 people a few hours later. Safer gun laws could’ve prevented this from happening, and if you agree–make sure your representatives hear you loud and clear.
Tip: I’ve been told that calling your elected officials is most effective, but Resistbot is another great tool to help you get started! Just text RESIST to 50409 and Resistbot will look them up, and help you compose and send a message via fax.
One more tip from GG readers who are staffers: If you’re ever copying and pasting a templated message (rather than calling), make sure to change it enough to re-work it into your own words. This comes off as more genuine and also makes it less likely to get caught in a filter!
Support your local businesses:
Make a point to order from Asian-owned brands, restaurants, stores, shops, and more. They need our support now more than ever!
Learn, Discuss, and Share your support:
Talk with your friends and family about what’s going on offline and offline. Listen to the stories of your Asian friends and peers. Follow Asian influencers. Read about the model minority myth (this article from Learning for Justice is a good one) and familiarize yourself with why it’s damaging, and why Asian American experiences with racism are often minimized.
Additionally, I know posting on social media sounds silly, but it’s important. Awareness is so crucial–sharing your solidarity publicly, amplifying Asian stories and experiences, sharing your favorite Asian-owned businesses, this all matters, because for there to be change there must be awareness.
Think about it–with mainstream media covering so few of these hate crimes (prior to what happened in Atlanta)–how many of us would even know there has been a spike in hate crimes if not for social media? Admittedly, I didn’t know about this until my Asian-American friends and influencers I follow on Instagram bravely started using their voices to speak out.
Everyone’s voice matters and can make a difference, no matter how many followers you have. I always like to put it this way: think about how many followers you have in a room. Maybe it’s 100, 200, 500, 1,000 people–If you were to get up and speak in front of that number of people–how big would that room have to be to hold them all? That’s a lot more impact than you thought, right!?
Call in/out racism and injustice when you see it:
Whether it’s a coworker’s troublesome remark, or you’re a bystander on the street–speak up. (Again, Learning for Justice is an amazing resource here–they have a great article on speaking up and addressing Coronavirus racism that is worth a read.) It matters. Use your voice. Maybe it’s an opportunity to educate someone, or maybe you are the only one who can intervene and save someone’s life. Report any incidents at stopaapihate.org.
Maybe you are feeling that you aren’t sure that speaking up is your place, maybe because you’re white and you’re afraid you’re going to say the wrong thing. I get it. You’re not alone! I was there too–I’m still worried I’m going to say the wrong thing! (And I do! All the time!) But this past year has taught me that saying something is far and away better than saying nothing.
If you’re feeling this way, what I would highly recommend is reading or listening to the book “Raising our Hands” by Jenna Arnold. I was skeptical at first about a social justice book written by a privileged white woman, for other white women–but I realized–there is nobody better to write it. Because it’s is exactly what every “well-intentioned” American white woman needs to hear, read, and do. It takes one to know one. We are the demographic that holds the highest purchasing, spending, and voter power in this country, but the vast majority of us continue to sit on the sidelines. This book examines why, and how to get off the bench. Give it a read–it’s a great starting point! You’ll be glad you did!
Know the 5 D’s of Bystander intervention:
Thanks to several posts I’ve seen circulating on social media (Again–SEE? Sharing on social media is so impactful!) I googled Hollaback’s 5 D’s of Bystander Intervention and found their incredibly helpful guide. Give it a read so you know what to do if you see someone being harassed. Review it yourself, and share it with everyone you know. (By the way, this is important to know for ALL kinds of harassment!) You can also sign up for an online training right here!