By Angela Yang, Kimmy Yam, Claire Wang, Brahmjot Kaur
Illustrations by Sophi Miyoko Gullbrants
May 2, 2022
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have reported surges in hate incidents, crimes and violence over the past two years, often related to racist scapegoating because of the pandemic. As a result, AAPIs have spurred their own communities and other leaders and industries to take action. From local fundraisers to rallies to national legislation to systemic changes in schools, AAPIs and others are developing solutions to increase visibility and fight racism. Here are 100 of the ways legislators, teens, artists, schools, athletes and many others nationwide have stepped up to fight hate and increased attacks.
Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act signed into law
Following months of increased violence against Asian Americans during the pandemic, Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, spearheaded legislation that directs the Justice Department to expedite the review of Covid-19-related hate crimes that were reported to law enforcement agencies. It also mandates that the department help local agencies establish ways to report such incidents online and perform public outreach. President Joe Biden signed the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act into law in May 2021. Read more.
Indiana University apologizes for banning Japanese students during WWII
Asian American faculty and alumni called on the university to make amends for banning Japanese students from its campus during World War II, when the U.S. government incarcerated nearly 120,000 people of Japanese descent. Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie formally apologized in July 2020, and said he would, among other efforts, direct the university archives to research the 12 Japanese American students who were prevented from attending the university to apologize to their family members.
Stop AAPI Hate tracks more than 10,000 incident reports
The organization was launched by community activists and academics in March 2020 as a reporting tool for hate incidents in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The founders of the reporting center quickly developed a website that includes a multilingual reporting form. To date, Stop AAPI Hate has documented more than 10,000 hate incident reports. Read more.
Sikh advocacy group honors victims of FedEx shooting
To commemorate the one-year mark of the FedEx shooting in Indianapolis that killed eight FedEx employees, four of whom were Sikh, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund hosted a virtual healing space to reflect on the tragedy and to help those still overcome with grief. The event came as violence continues to target the Sikh community. In New York City, a 70-year-old man was attacked in April while walking to a gurdwara, and a cab driver was assaulted in January at the city’s largest airport.
Harassment against Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women gets attention
Research spearheaded by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum called attention to the rampant bias that Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women confront. The data, released earlier this year, showed that 80 percent of the group reported dealing with racism or discrimination over the course of the year following the Atlanta attacks in March 2021. The group also reported significantly higher levels of sexual harassment, at more than 50 percent. Read more.
‘Dear Asian Youth’ helps Asian teens grapple with issues
Founded by teen activist Stephanie Hu, Dear Asian Youth hosts podcasts, campaigns and writing for and by young Asians. Its popular Instagram page features zines and educational resources on such issues as the roots of Black-Asian solidarity and the deportation of Southeast Asian refugees.
Laotian bakery in Connecticut funds Asian American studies scholarships
BouNom Bakery, a Laotian-owned French bakery in Connecticut, started a college scholarship for students taking Asian American studies. Over the next three years, six students at the University of Connecticut will receive $1,000 apiece and an internship opportunity at the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. Read more.
Asian American authors speak out against violence
“Pachinko” author Min Jin Lee spoke in New York City at a rally commemorating the anniversary of the Atlanta-area shootings, telling crowds that Asian Americans have changed their behaviors and tried to disguise their appearance to ward off violence. Cathy Park Hong, the author of “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning,” has spoken out regularly about the need for non-Asian Americans to support the fight against recent hate crimes. Viet Thanh Nguyen, the author of “The Sympathizer,” has spoken to various news outlets about the history of anti-Asian racism in the U.S., and he wrote an opinion essay in March in response to the violence.
Xiao Zhen Xie donates most of nearly $1 million raised after assault
When Xiao Zhen Xie, then 75, was punched in the face during an unprovoked attack in San Francisco last year, she returned her own punch despite having sustained injuries. Xie’s GoFundMe account, which quickly surpassed its $50,000 goal, raising nearly $1 million to cover her medical expenses, therapy and other bills. Xie, according to her family’s GoFundMe update, said she would use $120,000 for personal expenses and redirect the rest to a nonprofit organization, newly incorporated by her family, that would issue grants to help support other victims of hate crimes. Read more.
New bill to address California commuter harassment
A California bill, introduced by state Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, in February, seeks to protect women and other vulnerable groups on transit systems. The bill would require the state’s 10 largest transit districts to study the types of harassment that commuters experience and develop data-driven initiatives to promote safe ridership. Offenses can include slurs to intimidation and sexual assault. Read more.
White House launches initiative for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
The White House launched an initiative in December to tackle a number of issues disproportionately affecting the Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian communities. One of the topics the initiative aims to address is the impact of Covid-19 on Asian American livelihoods and businesses. It also aims to improve disaggregation of data (for better resource targeting) and to offer a more diverse array of language options in federal programs. Read more.
Bill promotes teaching of Asian American history
Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., reintroduced the Teaching Asian Pacific American History Act, which would mandate that institutions of higher education, libraries and other entities include the Asian Pacific American story in their teaching of U.S. history to be eligible for certain Education Department grants. The legislation would also require standardized tests to include questions about Asian American and Pacific Islander history.
$3.8 million donated to spa shooting victims, loved ones
More than $3.8 million has been donated to the families of victims in the Atlanta-area spa shootings, which killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent. The families used the funds to help cover funeral costs, create memorials and pay other expenses related to their deaths. The victims were Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; and Yong Ae Yue, 63.
Hawaii state senate denounces anti-Asian hate
The Hawaii Senate passed two resolutions last year to condemn all forms of racism, xenophobia, hate crimes and hate speech against Asian Americans. The resolution included a request that the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission collect and analyze anti-Asian hate incidents since March 2020 and report the data to the Legislature.
Asian American business and tech leaders pledge support
Nearly 1,000 Asian American business leaders signed the “Stand with Asian Americans” pledge, in which they promised to fight violence against Asians, support Asian employees and ensure representation. The pledge, which will also commit over $10 million to Asian American and Pacific Islander nonprofit groups, was signed by executives at Google, Facebook, Apple and other companies. Eric Yuan, the founder and CEO of Zoom, also signed the pledge. More than 700 tech industry players attended the “Tech for AAPI” online rally to condemn violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Groups help working-class immigrants fight exploitation
The Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence recently made an effort to preserve affordable housing in New York City. CAAAV rallied against a proposed rezoning project in Astoria, Queens, that advocates say would displace working-class immigrants and refugees. The group is also fighting alongside other community organizations to pass a plan to halt the development of several luxury towers.
Victim-support initiative distributes more than 27,000 safety devices
In response to the rise in violence against Asian Americans across the country, Soar Over Hate has distributed more than 27,000 safety devices, including personal alarms, whistles and pepper spray, to community members and organizations in New York and California. The volunteer-run organization also partnered with a clinician directory to provide up to 10 free therapy sessions.
Asian sex worker coalition campaigns to decriminalize massage therapy
Grassroots coalition Red Canary Song organizes resources and provides mutual aid to Asian and migrant massage parlor workers across the U.S. The New York City-based group co-authored a report, published in February, after years of research and outreach, about the racialized criminalization of Asian massage work across four metropolitan areas in North America. Working with elected officials and other advocates, it launched a campaign this year to pass a bill that would decriminalize unlicensed or unauthorized massage therapy in New York state.
Over 85 groups speak out against Hate Crimes legislation, offer alternatives
More than 85 organizations, ranging from the civic engagement nonprofit 18 Million Rising to the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, spoke out in opposition of the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act in May 2021. In a joint statement, the groups said the legislation fails to address the causes of anti-Asian bias and ignores police violence against Black and brown communities. Instead, they advocated for a redistribution of resources into programs including health care, housing and social services. Read more.
Calif. cities apologize to Chinese residents for past harms
Antioch, California, became the first city in the U.S. to apologize to Chinese residents for past wrongdoings. During the gold rush, the city became a “sundown town,” meaning Chinese residents were not allowed to be out after sunset. White mobs forced the population out and burned the city’s Chinatown to the ground. San Jose unanimously passed a resolution apologizing for arson that destroyed that city’s Chinatown in 1887. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also apologized for the mass lynching of Chinese residents in 1871. This year, San Francisco approved a resolution to apologize for “systemic and structural discrimination”
Report highlights problems, solutions for AAPI LGTBQ youth who face discrimination
The Trevor Project reported that 40 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islander LGBTQ youth have considered suicide in the last year, and those youth who experienced racism reported higher rates of attempting suicide. Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian youths experienced the highest rate of seriously considering suicide, at 49 percent. Experts encourage more culturally competent mental health services that consider the intersection of identities. Read more.
California allocates millions to fight anti-Asian hate
California designated $156 million for noncarceral alternatives to combat violence against Asian Americans. The budget, part of a $100 billion spending bill that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in July, was developed by the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. The money will be allocated over three years to a host of victim support, mental health and educational resources to tackle the root causes of anti-Asian racism. The funding plan is by far the largest state package dedicated to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Read more.
NYC protest celebrates Blaisian heritage, Black and Asian solidarity
Protesters took to the streets of Brooklyn for a Pride rally last year led by the Blasian March to celebrate Blaisian heritage, as well as draw attention to the violence perpetrated against Black and Asian members of the LGBTQ community. The march highlighted the intersectionality of two movements commonly pitted against each other even though they share a common fight for justice as protesters condemned anti-Asian hate while calling for alternatives to policing.
Calif. Cambodia Town holds rally in honor of Atlanta-area shootings
Hundreds of people gathered in Cambodia Town in Long Beach, California — which has the largest concentration of Cambodians outside Cambodia — to rally against hate crimes in a vigil commemorating the anniversary of the Atlanta-area spa shootings. Local community leaders spoke at the event to emphasize the long history of systemic racism in the U.S. and the importance of unity in combating it. The Long Beach City Council unanimously voted the same week to adopt a resolution condemning “discriminatory treatment, hostility and violence” toward Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, whose residents make up about 13 percent of the city’s population.
Pacific Islander group calls out disparity for lower-income Asians because of invisibility
Advocacy group Empowering Pacific Islander Communities highlighted data showing pay inequalities experienced by Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) women, who have some of the highest wage gaps of any racial or ethnic group — earning on average 62 cents for every dollar earned by a white man working in the same job. NHPI women also disproportionately work in the country’s lowest-paid jobs, often as essential workers in fields like health care and hospitality. Their issues are often masked by the model minority myth, the group says.
Asian American Christians create a religious safe space for victims
When Asian Americans started to experience violence in higher numbers at the start of the pandemic, many turned to their churches for answers. But the leaders of many white congregations met their concerns and trauma with dismissal, some said, so the Asian American Christian Collaborative was created as a safe space to discuss anti-racism in a faith-based context. Since its launch, its published calls to action have pushed the broader Christian community to recognize racism as a problem. Read more.
Southeast Asian refugee group calls out what they say are unjust deportation, immigration bans
Representing the largest demographic of refugees in the U.S. from Southeast Asia, the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center launched a series of public service announcements highlighting heightened deportations within these communities and how they affect families. The organization also launched a petition this year demanding that President Joe Biden’s administration lift Trump-era immigration bans still in effect against several South Asian and African countries. Read more.
Family of Vicha Ratanapakdee fights to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence
The family of Vicha Ratanapakdee, the 84-year-old man who died of his injuries after shoved to the ground in San Francisco in January 2021, has worked with the city to put up a mural in Chinatown commemorating Ratanapakdee and drawing attention to anti-Asian hate. The city’s Board of Supervisors has also introduced a resolution to rename a street in his neighborhood as Vicha Ratanapakdee Way, serving as the landmark for his last walk. Read more.
South Asian Georgia nonprofit group fights domestic violence
Serving South Asian communities in Georgia, Raksha offers support services from employment resources and family counseling to language translation and technical support. In a 2021 public awareness campaign, Raksha organized 31 daily social media prompts encouraging the public to help raise awareness of domestic violence and to support advocates and honor survivors.
LGBTQ federation pushes Asian Americans and Pacific islanders to take national transgender survey
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance is urging all transgender people ages 16 and older to pledge to take the U.S. Transgender Survey, the country’s only major study of transgender life. Its findings help inform news outlets, educators, lawmakers and the public at large about issues affecting the trans community. The alliance works to spread the word to rural residents, immigrants, non-English speakers and those who are HIV-positive.
St. Louis news anchor launches nonprofit group after racist comments
I’d love to say something back. pic.twitter.com/zrXgiwQbR9— #VeryAsian Michelle (@MichelleLiTV) January 2, 2022
Korean American news anchor Michelle Li launched the Very Asian Foundation after a viewer called her "very Asian" for telling audiences during a New Year’s Day segment that she eats dumplings. The organization seeks to highlight the voices of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, as well as bring attention to the violence facing the community.
Asian American Buddhists mourn those lost in Atlanta area
For many practicing Buddhists, the 49th day after someone’s death marks a transition point in the mourning period. So 49 days after the Atlanta-area shootings, a group of Asian American Buddhists held a virtual ceremony to commemorate the victims. The celebration, called May We Gather, mourned the lives of those who died in the Atlanta area, as well as those of Buddhists who lost their lives to racist violence throughout history. The service was held at a Buddhist temple in Los Angeles that had been vandalized a few months earlier, and thousands streamed it online. Read more.
Laotian American truck driver takes leave from work to launch foot patrol
Jimmy Bounphengsy became an accidental activist when he started driving from his home in San Jose, California, to Oakland’s Chinatown, where he would walk around, providing unofficial store security and escorting older people home to ensure their safety. His foot patrol quickly expanded into the group Asians With Attitudes and gained many more participants. Read more.
Community news organization throws benefit concert for Stop AAPI Hate
AAJA releases media guidance to help with responsible coverage
The Asian American Journalists Association released updated guidance for reporters covering anti-Asian violence and racism during the coronavirus pandemic. The association cautions against perpetuating xenophobia in Covid-19 coverage, and it has urged journalists covering anti-Asian hate to pursue stories that capture the nuance and diversity of the Asian American community.
Brooklyn dentist raises $250,000 for free taxi service
Madeline Park launched Cafe Maddy Cab, a fund covering cab rides for Asian New Yorkers too frightened to take public transit amid a rise in anti-Asian violence. Over three months last summer, she raised more than $250,000 to reimburse fares for the city's most vulnerable residents, including older people and women. Read more.
Nonprofit group uses art to subvert ‘Where are you really from?’ question
The Asian American Federation released 10 original pieces of art that flip the script on a question frequently asked of Asian Americans: “Where are you really from?” Each one, designed like a travel poster, is dedicated to a different city, among them New York, Seattle, Houston and San Diego. The prints helped raise money for grassroots organizations combating anti-Asian hate. Read more.
Illinois spearheads Asian American coursework in schools; Ohio, N.J., Fla., Conn. follow
The state became the first to require public schools to teach Asian American history. The legislation passed following a campaign from the nonprofit group Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago. The curriculum went into effect this year. Legislators in Ohio, Connecticut and Florida introduced bills, as well. New Jersey became the second state to require teaching Asian American history. Read more.
New York gives $10 million for AAPI communities hit by pandemic
New York state is distributing $10 million to organizations that are supporting Asian American communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The funding, announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul in February, will be allocated to local organizations, including the Asian American Federation, the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families and the Chinese-American Planning Council, which will distribute the money to community organizations providing direct services. Read more.
AAPI chefs raise $122,000 through gourmet takeout dinners
Tim Ma and Kevin Tien, two high-profile chefs from Washington, D.C., rallied dozens of chefs from across the country to prepare five-course takeout dinners that benefit Asian American and Pacific Islander nonprofit organizations. Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate has raised more than $122,000 for groups like RISE and Stop AAPI Hate, and it has expanded its reach to the war in Ukraine.
Media outlets air specials about anti-Asian hate
Legacy media outlets like NBC, CBS and ABC aired specials covering anti-Asian hate, xenophobia and racism as an outgrowth of the Covid-19 pandemic. The programming came amid an increase in violence targeting the Asian American community. They hosted celebrities, politicians, representatives from nonprofit organizations and other thought leaders to shed light on the attacks. PBS also released a five-part series about Asian American history.
Atlanta Korean churches get political
Korean churches around Atlanta experienced a political awakening after the spa shootings last year. Church leaders began encouraging their congregations to speak out against anti-Asian racism, and pastors across the state began speaking to media and pressuring lawmakers to take action to prevent xenophobic and racist violence.
Simu Liu pens essay encouraging action from all of us
Actor Simu Liu wrote an essay in March 2021 for Variety emphasizing the long-standing reality of anti-Asian racism and calling on those outside the Asian American community to mobilize against it. In the piece Liu, who portrays the first Asian superhero in the Marvel franchise, Shang-Chi, condemned the pandemic-fueled attacks against Asian Americans, as well as the “bystanders and witnesses” who in the past “have stood idly by and simply not cared enough to speak up.”
The Sikh Coalition educates on religious garb
When a shooter at a FedEx center in Indianapolis killed eight people, four of them Sikhs, and injured others last year, the Sikh Coalition, a civil rights organization, began a nationwide education effort. In addition to a vigil to commemorate those who died in the attack, which injured several other people, the coalition created educational programming to promote Sikh awareness in schools and communities, focusing on such sacred visible aspects as turbans and facial hair, to bring light to Sikhism as a whole.
The White House initiative commemorates Atlanta-area shootings
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, which was formed by the Biden administration, hosted a virtual event to commemorate the anniversary of the Atlanta-area spa shootings in March. The event included a fireside chat with Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community leaders to share how their work combats the issue of anti-Asian violence, especially among AAPI women.
Global brands show solidarity
Using the hashtag #StopAsianHate, global brands showed their support for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community amid the increase of violence against Asian Americans last year. Companies including Nike, HBO, Valentino, The North Face, Warner Bros., ESPN and many more shared their support on Instagram. Several brands also included resources and tagged the nonprofit tracking center Stop AAPI Hate.
Ken Jeong quietly donated $50k to Atlanta shooting victims’ families
The comedian donated $50,000 to the families of the victims of the shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, which left eight people dead, including six Asian women. Jeong made five donations of $10,000 in March 2021 to the victims’ loved ones. Read more.
Vilma Kari campaign raises more than $270,000
After Vilma Kari was knocked down and kicked in the face in New York City last year by an attacker who yelled, “You don’t belong here,” her daughter Elizabeth Kari encouraged her to share her story. The family’s GoFundMe campaign, now closed, raised more than $270,000 after an outpouring of support from donors. Elizabeth Kari also founded AAP(I belong), a digital space where people could anonymously share stories of their own experiences of both hate and encouragement. The stories were displayed last year at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City.
Artist brings anti-racism message to public transit
As public transit in New York City became a hotbed for anti-Asian hate and violence, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya’s public art series “I Still Believe in Our City” festooned the tunnels and walls of the subway system, has been seen by millions of commuters. Elements of the art drew on the artist’s experiences being verbally abused on the subway. “Art can speak in an instant what written words would take people much longer to absorb,” she said. Read more.
Houston's South Asian teens lead healing and restorative justice workshops
South Asian Youth in Houston Unite leads healing and restorative justice workshops and other efforts to create safer spaces for South Asian LGBTQ youths.
MTV commemoration brings together Asian American and Pacific Islander celebrities
In a celebration for AAPI Heritage Month last year, MTV and a coalition of partners hosted a special event to highlight the contributions Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have made to the country and to express support in a time of heightened violence. The celebration, which was broadcast nationwide, featured appearances by Daniel Dae Kim, Naomi Osaka, Lisa Ling, Jeremy Lin and Michelle Kwan, along with performances by Jhene Aiko, Saweetie and Sting. Viewers also heard from several prominent AAPI advocates working to influence change.
Hawaii group educates on LGBTQ and AAPI identities
The Hawaiʻi LGBT Legacy Foundation hosted a town hall in October to tackle the intersectional experience of being both queer and Indigenous. Speakers at the event explored how cultural and historical factors like colonization informed their sexual orientation or gender identity. In February, the group hosted two webinars to examine the relationship between the Bible and the LGBTQ community, focusing on themes that provide an understanding of inclusive Christianity.
Indianapolis gurdwara offers support after FedEx shooting
The Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis and the Immigrant Welcome Center co-hosted an anniversary prayer service last month for the eight victims of the FedEx shooting — four of whom were Sikh. The Immigrant Welcome Center reached out to residents during the service to remind them that the nonprofit organization provides assistance, referrals and resources to the victims, their families and the community. Read more.
Photographers combat ‘perpetual foreigner’ stereotype
In a photo series titled “Perpetual Foreigner,” Andrew Kung and Kathleen Namgung portrayed Asian Americans in lighthearted scenes with Americana backdrops. The images use styles and settings from classic ’90s ad campaigns that would typically include only white faces. “The imagery we wanted to paint was one of celebration and belonging,” Kung said, “an ideal landscape of what it could look like if Asian Americans were accepted in this country.” Read more.
Athletes make a statement
Several professional athletes used their platforms to raise awareness around anti-Asian hate. Damian Lillard, a point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, wore a “Stop Asian Hate" T-shirt during a game against the Orlando Magic last year. And in an episode of “NBA on TNT,” former pro basketball players Dwyane Wade and Kyle Korver spoke passionately against the violence and emphasized the importance of allyship to the Asian community. Taylor Rapp, a safety for the Los Angeles Rams, also launched a non-fungible token, donating a part of sales to the Support the AAPI Community Fund, which supports community nonprofit groups.
Send Chinatown Love raises $1 million for restaurants
The nonprofit group began as an effort to build websites and provide relief for small, off-the-grid Chinese restaurants. Two years later, it has become an ambassador to New York’s Chinatown, raising more than $1 million for 34 merchants and donating nearly 40,000 meals to elderly and other vulnerable residents. Aside from fundraising, a team of young consultants also provides pro bono business development services to help businesses post-pandemic. Read more.
South Asian nonprofit brings more language access to anti-hate resources
Lower-income South Asians in big cities suffered disproportionately during the pandemic and with rising hate. Lack of language access often kept them from getting the help they needed or reporting their experiences. South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) partnered with Respond: Crisis Translation to translate anti-Asian hate resources available in a large array of languages like Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Khmer, Gujarati, Nepali, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
New Orleans nonprofit group hosts storytelling workshops to fight hate
The group VAYLA hosts a recurring storytelling workshop to combat xenophobia and humanize Asian American life in the South while developing partnerships with groups serving people of color.
Sandra Oh gives impassioned speech at protest
Actor Sandra Oh took a stand against the rise of anti-Asian hate incidents at a “Stop Asian Hate” protest in Pittsburgh in March 2021. Oh delivered an impassioned speech, giving her support to Asian American communities nationwide days after the tragic shootings in the Atlanta area that killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent. “One way to get through our fear is to reach out to our communities. I will challenge everyone here, if you see something, will you help me?” she said. Read more.
Conn. attorney general enlists businesses to fight anti-Asian racism
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, the state’s first Asian American elected official, and Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl A. Racine hosted a national meeting to discuss tactics to combat anti-Asian hate crimes. During the meeting, officials shared details about legislation that they believed would help spur hate-crime reporting. Participants were also briefed on bystander training resources, and business leaders in attendance pledged to help address anti-Asian hate.
NYC vigils commemorate killings of Michelle Go and Christina Yuna Lee
Vigils for Christina Yuna Lee and Michelle Go swept New York City after back-to-back attacks that took the lives of both women. In January, candles lit up Times Square as mourners gathered to remember Go, and city officials spoke of the violence against New York’s AAPI communities. The next month, organizers held a vigil in Chinatown in memory of Lee, who was killed in February in her Chinatown apartment. Read more.
Arts group addresses bullying through virtual events
The Asian American Arts Alliance organized virtual events throughout the lockdown to open a dialogue about bullying, addressing anti-Asian rhetoric and the Asian American experience. A4 partnered with the Justice Department, health experts, academics and other organizations to create spaces for these conversations.
Filipino community rallies against violence in NYC
Filipino Americans rallied in New York City to unite against violence targeting Filipinos and the larger Asian American community. Organizers planned the event after a 67-year-old Filipino woman was punched 125 times, stomped on and spat on as she tried to enter the lobby of a building in Yonkers. Between the attack and the rally in April, unprovoked assaults on two Filipino men were also caught on camera in New York City.
NYC organization launches public safety, victim support initiatives
The Asian American Federation launched its Hope Against Hate campaign last year to establish safety programs and language-accessible victim support services for Asian Americans in New York City. Initiatives include an assistance fund for assault-related expenses and the establishment of “safe zones” in the city where targeted people can seek help from designated small businesses and faith centers marked with a poster in their windows.
Filipino artists speak up about anti-Asian hate through music video
A cast of Filipino musicians gathered in June to perform in a music video addressing the wave of violence against Asian Americans. Organized by Asia Society Philippines, the video featured artists singing a version of the Oscar Hammerstein-Richard Rodgers show tune “You've Got to Be Carefully Taught,” altering the lyrics to deliver a message in support of the Stop Asian Hate movement. The video was distributed with subtitles in a variety of languages, from Hindi to French to Chinese.
'Sesame Street' makes history as it adds first Asian American Muppet to cast
The beloved children’s television show “Sesame Street” introduced its first Asian American muppet, Ji-Young, during a special that focused on “Neighbor Day” last year. The episode featured celebrities like Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka and actor Simu Liu. The muppet also aimed to help tackle the topic of anti-Asian racism and the challenges that come with Ji-Young’s identity. Read more.
Calif. attorney general establishes a racial justice bureau
California Attorney General Rob Bonta, the first Filipino American to hold the position, launched a racial justice bureau in May to address the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. The bureau, which initially included six attorneys and a supervising deputy attorney general and is housed under the department’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section, is part of Bonta’s increased focus on hate crimes. In addition to combating anti-Asian attacks, Bonta said, the bureau will look into other social justice issues, including white supremacy and racial bias in policing. Read more.
New York nonprofit group provides pro bono legal assistance
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund started the #StopAsianHate Project to provide pro bono legal advice and direct assistance to victims of anti-Asian violence.
Southeast Asians teens in Providence, R.I., organizes self-defense classes
The Providence Youth Student Movement seeks to empower and engage young Southeast Asians by organizing self-defense classes and mass actions to end police violence and deportations.
Jeremy Lin speaks out against anti-Asian racism
Basketball trailblazer Jeremy Lin repeatedly condemned the attacks against Asian Americans. In March 2021, he shared a video on social media, saying, “We are tired of our pain being overlooked.” He also previously emphasized in an interview with NBC Asian America that the community should avoid internalizing the attacks and remain proud of its achievements. Early in the pandemic, he donated $500,000 with the aim of inspiring more unity than division. Read more.
Rep. Grace Meng calls for first Asian American, Pacific Islander national museum
Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., reintroduced a bill in May to create the first national museum dedicated to Asian Pacific American history. “The story of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is interwoven within the history of America, but frequently our history is forgotten or ignored in the greater narrative of American history,” she said in a letter to the House Natural Resources Committee. The House passed the bill in April. Read more.
Activists, scholars mobilize against controversial China initiative
Asian American organizations and multiple members of Congress spoke out against the Trump-era China Initiative — which purportedly addresses Chinese economic espionage — claiming that the initiative has led to false allegations of espionage against scientists and scholars of Asian descent. Hundreds of scholars, including faculty members from Yale, Stanford and Princeton, also demanded the dissolution of the program, describing it as discriminatory and condemning it as a threat to the research environment. The Biden administration announced the termination of the program in February. Read more.
Subtle Asian Baking community raises $15,000 from bake sale
An online community founded by several Seattle-based bakers has raised more than $15,000 for Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations, holding bake sales all over the world. With more than 300,000 followers across social media platforms, the group has sent money to national coalitions like Stop AAPI Hate and the Very Asian Foundation, as well as to such local projects as Welcome to Chinatown.
Middle schoolers nationwide organize for Asian American studies
AAPI Youth Rising, a group founded by middle schoolers in California, supported legislative actions to integrate AAPI history into public school curriculums.
Amanda Nguyen kick-starts movement for AAPI visibility
Activist Amanda Nguyen’s viral video last February, which called on mainstream media outlets to give more coverage to recent violence against Asian American communities, drew millions of views. Since then, she has spoken to national news outlets about the issue and heard a wave of responses from other people speaking up about their own hate incidents. Nguyen, the founder of the civil rights organization Rise, was chosen as one of Time’s 2022 Women of the Year.
Hmong American youths in Minnesota lead bystander intervention training
Last spring, young Hmong organizers with the Asian Minnesotan Alliance for Justice hosted free, one-hour, interactive bystander intervention training sessions for community members.
AAPI Data adds new context to hate incidents
The policy and research nonprofit released a survey in March that found that all nonwhite racial demographic groups experienced similar rates of hate crimes in early 2022, adding context to how hate incidents affect different groups in the U.S. Results showed Asian American women experienced hate-related incidents at similar rates as Asian American men.
Group host self-defense seminars for South Asian women
To commemorate the one-year mark of Malikah, a collective of trauma-informed women and nonbinary trainers, has been hosting a series of seminars on self-defense, organizing and healing justice to help South Asian women fight gender and hate-based violence.
Civil rights organization offers bystander intervention training
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC has been leading bystander intervention training in Mandarin and Cantonese to community members.
Denver apologizes for past anti-Chinese riot
In a historic ceremony April 15, city officials formally apologized to Asian American residents for the anti-Chinese riot that killed one person and destroyed the city’s Chinatown in 1880. Colorado Asian Pacific United, an Asian American advocacy group, organized the event with the city. Read more.
APIAVote sends letters to Washington to push for bills on voting access
APIAVote, which monitors and responds to government action on voting rights, helped push for such legislation as the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, sending letters to President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The bills would create national standards to promote equal access to voting across the country, as well as ensure federal review of any changes to local or state election laws.
L.A. honors community with new arch in Historic Filipinotown
Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown, home to more than half a million Filipinos, installed a new gateway arch in the neighborhood in April. The event marks the completion of a project that had been in the works for nearly 20 years. Designed by Filipino artists, the 30-foot-high structure displays such cultural symbols as a parol lantern, the hibiscus flower and the legendary bird Sarimanok. Read more.
AAPI Women Lead holds healing space for violence against women
AAPI Women Lead and the #ImReady Movement boost the visibility of Asian American and Pacific Islander women’s experiences with racial discrimination, immigration, sexual violence and other issues. Last year, their #I’mReady Conference focused on healing from the increased violence and the events of 2021. For the first anniversary of the Atlanta-area spa shootings, AAPI Women Lead also hosted a virtual healing space, focusing on the targeted violence against Asian women.
Labor alliance publishes guide to combating anti-Asian violence
The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, backed by the AFL-CIO, published a public guide about ways to learn about and combat anti-Asian violence, as well as a toolkit recommending actions people and institutions can take to build a labor movement that is inclusive of the concerns of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Its Covid-19 Community Fund also works to funnel financial resources to workers affected by the pandemic, especially those whose immigration statuses make them ineligible for government assistance.
Archive preserves South Asian American history
The South Asian American Digital Archive publishes an online magazine, Tides, to share original essays to offer more insight into the diversity of the communities it represents. The organization also delivers presentations to schools and businesses about topics in South Asian American history.
Dartmouth students push for AAPI major
Students and professors at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire are pushing for the university to create an Asian American studies program. According to students, such a program is critical amid increased violence targeting the Asian American community.
Coalition submits budget priorities to White House to address AAPI challenges
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans has submitted budget priorities to the White House for fiscal year 2023, focusing on issues such as data disaggregation and language access. To call out the monolithization of Asian Americans and the erasure of Pacific Islanders, the council launched its digital #WhoWeAre campaign last year to showcase the diversity of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Civil rights organization funnels $3 million to community groups
The Asian Law Caucus, which advocates for and offers legal services to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, is redistributing $3 million of its funding to community-based organizations across 15 states, as well as $600,000 to the Emergency Victims and Survivors Fund in Georgia. The program is an effort to draw more attention to smaller organizations that have not received the same amount of donor support, the organization said.
USC awards degrees to former Japanese American students interned during WWII
In a step toward reparations for a history of discrimination against Japanese American students, the University of Southern California in April awarded honorary degrees to families of 33 students who were interned during World War II under Executive Order 9066, which displaced around 120,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast. After the war ended, USC refused to re-enroll its former Japanese American students and declined to release the transcripts they needed to enroll at other schools. Read more.
Student researchers launch study to tackle sexual violence
UCLA doctoral students Eunhee Park and Jianchao Lai launched a research project exploring how sexual violence affects Asian international students across the University of California school system. The two aimed for their study, named Double Jeopardy, to open a dialogue about such experiences and help universities implement programs that would give students the support and resources they need.
Olivia Munn and Go FundMe create anti-hate PSA
Several prominent Asian Americans, including Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong and Lisa Ling, took part in a public service announcement last year shedding light on the history of anti-Asian racism in the country. The “#StopAsianHate Together” ad, helmed by “Be Water” director Bao Nguyen, features a candlelight vigil with celebrities recounting acts of violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community across decades, including the killings of six women of Asian descent in the Atlanta area last year. Read more.
Push for more AAPI leadership grows
Nonprofit Ascend, which works to elevate Asian American and Pacific Islander business leaders, launched its multiyear Ascend Impact Fund last year to expand advocacy, education and community engagement around the history of racism against Asian Americans. Having received six-figure commitments from its inaugural corporate donors, the fund supports the Ascend Foundation’s research in tracking the progress of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in leadership roles and understanding the factors that lead to inequities.
High schoolers nationwide publish policy reports on anti-Asian hate
Under Stop AAPI Hate's internship program, dozens of high school students with the Stop AAPI Youth Campaign work together to produce policy reports exploring the prevalence and impact of anti-Asian racism on youths. Read more.
Calif. city installs artwork in new plaza to commemorate Japanese American internment
The city of Hayward in the San Francisco Bay Area is installing a commemorative marker and companion artwork in its newly opened Hayward Heritage Plaza to memorialize the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, as well as the city’s role in the history. In downtown Hayward, 600 Japanese Americans boarded buses headed to a detention center before they were sent to internment camps in Utah and elsewhere, according to the city’s website.
Legislators introduce bill to address Calif. street harassment
A bill introduced in California in February seeks to address street harassment targeting women and other vulnerable groups. The legislation, proposed by Assembly members Mia Bonta, D-Oakland, and Dr. Akilah Weber, D-San Diego, and sponsored by California Healthy Nail Salon, would direct the California Department of Public Health to conduct a multiyear public education campaign to raise awareness about street harassment. The initiative would be accessible to residents with limited English proficiency. Read more.
L.A. activist creates multilingual resource on hate crime reporting
In response to a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in Southern California, Los Angeles-based activist Esther Lim created a booklet in seven languages to teach people, especially older residents, how to report these attacks. Lim has distributed thousands of copies of the 15-page handout all across the state, including to a number of police departments.
Nonprofit group delivers food so Asian seniors feel safe
Volunteers with Heart of Dinner, a New York City-based nonprofit group, deliver food every week to hundreds of seniors in the area’s Asian American community. The care packages include hot meals and fresh produce, along with handwritten and illustrated letters in their native languages. The group, launched during the pandemic by Yin Chang and Moonlynn Tsai, works to combat isolation and food insecurity while helping elders feel safe amid heightened levels of violence. Read more.
Sports leagues take a stand
Some sports leagues have spoken out against the heightened levels of anti-Asian violence. In February 2021, the MLB shared a social media post standing in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and declaring that it is a “shared responsibility to root out this insidious hate.” In another statement, the NFL said the attacks were "abhorrent, disturbing and must cease." Weeks later, after the Atlanta-area shootings that resulted in eight deaths, including those of six Asian women, the NBA also tweeted its support for the community, directing fans to learn about the violence through the organization Stop AAPI Hate.
Chicago groups lead bystander intervention trainings
In Chicago, Advancing Justice partnered with the Council on American-Islamic Relations to undertake bystander hate incident intervention training for community members.
‘Did You Eat Yet’ campaign provides virtual hug for community
The group 18 Million Rising publishes campaigns responding to political and social injustices affecting Asian Americans. Its monthly newsletter, “Did You Eat Yet?” — named after a common expression of love in Asian households — keeps followers updated on current campaigns and ways to get involved.