Since the beginning of the pandemic, anti-Asian hate crimes have dramatically increased due to the belief that Asians are to blame for the spread of COVID-19. Some activists and officials say that attacks surged during the pandemic as a result of racist remarks made by former President Donald Trump, as he referred to the virus as the “China virus” and the “Kung Flu.”
Anti-Asian racism is occurring globally, with reports coming from Canada, Italy, Brazil, and other countries. It is difficult to measure the exact amount of hate crimes towards Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) because there are not many established organizations tracking hate crimes in the long term. However, the Stop AAPI Hate organization was established on March 19, 2020 in light of the spike of AAPI crimes to prevent discrimination towards Asians during the pandemic. It also serves as a reporting center against AAPI hate in the U.S. The reported incidents consist of verbal harassment, physical assault, and shunning―the avoidance of Asians. Nearly 3,800 incidents were reported nationwide over the last year at the Stop AAPI Hate organization.
The U.S. Senate passed a bill called COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on April 22 addressing the crimes targeting Asian-Americans. The Justice Department will expedite the process of reviewing hate crimes happening due to COVID-19. It will also assist local and state governments by giving them more resources to improve the tracking of hate crimes and provide guidance on how to raise awareness of crimes during the pandemic.
There are resources online to support the AAPI communities that are experiencing trauma from the aftermath of hate crimes. There is a campaign that was launched by GoFundMe called #StopAsianHate. It is partnering with Gold House, a non-profit aiming to represent the AAPI community, and the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, representatives of AAPI people in the entertainment and media industry. The page provides different fundraisers that help victims. Another way to support Asians is to report hate incidents through the Stop AAPI Hate website; the site offers other languages besides English.
One can also support AAPI by volunteering. The Compassion in Oakland was formed due to the exponential increase in anti-Asian attacks in the Bay Area. They offer chaperones in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood to protect AAPI elders. Individuals can volunteer through compassioninoakland.org. In addition, people can support small Asian-owned businesses and attend local protests aiming to advocate the current Asian hate surge. Through everyone’s support, from donating to sharing fundraisers, a decrease in the number of hate crimes is only possible through a group effort, even in small amounts.