#StopAsianHate: How to support the movement and combat anti-Asian violence

On Tuesday afternoon in Atlanta, Georgia, a 21-year-old gunman entered three different massage parlours, killing eight people in a horrific shooting spree. As details emerge on his motives, social media and news outlets are ablaze with questions about whether the shooting was racially motivated, particularly after police confirmed six of the victims who died were Asian women, four of whom were of Korean descent, and the shootings occured at Asian-owned businesses. 

The breaking news is the latest incident in a series of violent attacks against Asians worldwide that are directly linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. The US, UK, Australia and Europe have seen a significant uptick in xenophobia and anti-Asian racism, at times even directly or indirectly invoked by government leaders or senior officials themselves. Taking a stand, nonprofit organisations, activists and celebrities are speaking out against the surge in anti-Asian sentiment, especially after yesterday’s gruesome events in Atlanta. 

Back in May 2020, as the impact of Covid-19 surged on, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on “everyone, everywhere” to be vigilant in uprooting acts of hate saying, “the pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering,” and urged governments to strengthen communities against the virus of hate.

Initially, despite these urgings, US mainstream media seemed largely unaware or unpressed to investigate the recurrence of such incidents, much to the chagrin of the Asian American community. 


In response to this, US-based Asian American organisations and individuals mobilised to report and raise awareness. Prominent in these efforts are coalitions such as: 

Stop AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Hate, an initiative founded by three historic California-based Asian American non-profits, is a reporting center to track and respond to incidents of hate, violence, harassment and discrimination again Asian Americans. The initiative also engages in advocacy, supporting community-based measures and providing greater access to helpful resources.

Asian American Federation is a New York-based organization that represents a network of 70 non-profits that serve low to moderate-income households through programs in health and human services, education, economic development, civic engagement and social justice. Funds donated serve their wider network to directly tackle anti-Asian hate crime issues head-on.

Hate Is A Virus is a “nonprofit community of mobilizers and amplifiers that [exist] to dismantle hate and racism”, founded through nationwide organisations to “amplify, educate and activate AAPI to stand for justice and equality in solidarity with other communities”.

Hope Not Hate is a UK-based advocacy group that aims to mount campaigns against racism and facism through activities that build community and foster dialogue, research and its own publication with analysis and interviews for “those committed to the fight against fascism, racism and extremism”.

Through their work in receiving reports of hate, Stop AAPI Hate has been notable in producing data to back up the claims of hateful incidents. From their inception in March 2020, until last month, February 2021, the group had received a shocking 3,795 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents. In their latest national report, released this week, of the 3,795 incidents, verbal harassment (68.1%) and shunning or deliberate avoidance (20.5%) make up the two largest proportions of total incidents, with physical assault (11.1%) comprising the third-largest category. Women were found to report hate incidents 2.3 times more than men with incident reports coming from all 50 states.

Of course, with social media being such a prominent part of daily life, it has also become a critical tool in alerting others of anti-Asian incidents, providing data points and offering educational resources on how to address them. The prolific use of hashtags #StopAsianHate, started by the Asian American Federation, and Stop AAPI’s #StopAAPIHate ensures information is linked, searchable and explorable to the specific topic. Oftentimes, these hashtags provide far more in-depth and immediate coverage than mainstream media.

Across sectors, brands such as Twitter, Apple, Airbnb, Nike and Peloton, continue to show their support, by centering Asian employees and voices, donating funds to community organizations working on the ground and posting in solidarity with Asian communities. Individually, corporate professionals who can wield their platform are doing so in different ways as well. For example, Facebook’s Global Head of Social Marketing, Eric Toda, hosted an Instagram Live with actor Henry Golding to discuss the topic of anti-Asian hate and has spoken widely about the hard-hitting issue.

As the news about the lost lives in Atlanta are mourned internationally, and the virus continues to impact the world, it’s becoming more imperative than ever to address racially motivated attacks and find ways to effectively protect one another.

5 ways to support the #StopAsianHate movement: 

  1. Support Asian community organisations by sharing their messages or donating

While the show of solidarity from celebrities and brands is helpful, local organizations have long been doing the work to build up communities. Consider donating to Stop AAPI Hate, Hate is a Virus or the Asian American Federation to support their work, which includes research and tracking, escorting vulnerable individuals, producing educational materials and much more.

2. Educate yourself so you can advocate for others

Activists are quick to point out that discrimination against Asians is not a new phenomenon. It’s important to know your history to understand, empathize and advocate.

3. Follow safety tips and get proper training

Stop AAPI Hate recommends five safety tips if you are witnessing hate and organisations such as Hollaback! provide conflict de-escalation training for different types of harassment so you are equipped to step in if you witness anti-Asian harassment. 

4. Help report hate crimes

If you face an anti-Asian hate crime, or know someone who has, it’s important to report incidents to local police or groups like Stop AAPI Hate so they can be addressed by local authorities. 

5. Support Asian-owned businesses

Asian businesses have been hit particularly hard throughout the pandemic, whether through deliberate avoidance or economic downturn. Show your support by patronising Asian-owned businesses in your community.

Take action now by supporting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) on GoFundMe

See also: Oscar Nominations 2021: Finally, some racial and gender representation

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