Article Link: Read it on Secret NYC
Originally posted in March 2021
Though anti-Asian sentiment is sadly not a new phenomenon in the U.S., we have seen an abhorrent rise in crimes and hateful actions against Asian Americans over the past year.
Crimes targeting AAPI individuals rose by almost 150% in 2020 throughout the U.S., and in NYC by 833% (from three to 28), according to a new study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. Still, these numbers likely do not even cover every incident that occurred, as many are not charged as hate crimes or are simply underreported.
On one late February day, four separate attacks were committed against Asian women in NYC, and just a week late an Asian man was stabbed in Chinatown. This comes after horrifying incidents this summer of someone being burned and another having chemicals thrown on them outside their home.
And, all of this violence is on top of the drastic decrease in business due to xenophobia regarding the origins of COVID-19. MasterCard analyzed 2020 data that revealed that by March, consumer spending dropped by 96% in Chinatown and Flushing, and they felt those effects six weeks earlier than the rest of the city, starting in January.
It is clear we must all do more to condemn violence, uplift Asian voices, and fiscally support marginalized communities in our own city. Here are 5 ways to start doing your part to help combat anti-Asian racism and create a more equitable city (and world).
Thank you to @kimsaira and @sendchinatownlove for inspiration and sharing many of the resources that are featured in this post.
1. Support AAPI-Owned Businesses In Your Neighborhood
As written above, Asian-owned businesses have been some of the hardest hit in the pandemic due to racist rhetoric concerning the novel coronavirus. Help your local businesses stay afloat by supporting them as much as possible. Plan a day in Chinatown in Lower Manhattan, Flushing or Jackson Heights in Queens, and make a concerted effort to order from (and tip well) at restaurants or shops in your own community.
The organization Send Chinatown Love, which began during the pandemic, often holds food crawls and events encouraging the support of community members and keep local businesses open. Their Gift-A-Meal program allows you have to double the impact, as you can purchase a meal from a local restaurant to then be shared with someone in need.
For other Asian-owned business directories in NYC, see here and here.
2. Make Financial Donations
If you are able, donating monetarily to organizations supporting Asian communities in New York City (and across the U.S.) can be especially impactful. These groups are on the ground, knowing first-hand what is most needed and where to direct resources so they can be most helpful to the communities they are serving. Here are some ideas:
3. Stand Up Against Discrimination
Of course, one of the most tangible things we can do is to stand up against discrimination when we witness it, whether it be blatant acts or casual offensive comments. If you do witness an act of hate, it is important to report it. NYC has created a government website with a toolkit for addressing anti-Asian bias, discrimination and hate, which can be viewed here. The Center for Anti-Violence Education also offers training on how to be an active “upstander” if you see something problematic happening, not just a “bystander.”
You can always report incidents of discrimination to the city here. The organization Stop AAPI Hate also has created its own reporting database of hateful incidents against Asian-Americans. According to the New York Times, many are not classified as hate crimes and do not get added to officially reported numbers.
4. Educate Yourself
To understand and change the present, we must reflect on and acknowledge the past, and educating yourself on the history of racism against Asian people in America can help you come to the issues in a more well-rounded fashion and inform your actions today. Research the history of the model minority myth, the history of the model minority myth, the 1871 Chinese massacre, the 1886 hearing of Yick Wo vs. Hopkins, and others. Find informative articles here and here.
5. Volunteer Your Time
Safe Walks NYC, which you can read more about here, uses a volunteer system to help ensure New Yorkers feel same on their way home from the subway. An increased effort has been made in neighborhoods like Chinatown and to accompany elderly Asian individuals. Most of the organizations featured in #2 of our list also share community volunteer opportunities, like helping distribute food or giving time at community aid events.