In the last year, crimes against Asian Americans have increased by nearly 150%. More than 3,800 hate incidents have been reported, with many flying under the radar. The main reason for this being that many victims are afraid to speak out due to language barriers and lack of resources to support them. The most recent attack took the lives of 8 individuals, 6 of them being Asian American women in Atlanta, Georgia. Many influential people have been utilizing their platforms to condemn these attacks, but this is not enough. The problem cannot be dealt with unless everyone starts the conversation about how we can stop the discrimination towards Asian Americans surrounding the pandemic.
The first step is to talk with friends and family members about the rise in hate crimes. Although you may not be directly affected by the incidents, it’s important to speak up about how you can help those in need. For example, try asking your family if there is any way you can donate to the families affected. Also, following support groups and communities on social media can give you helpful information on where to send resources and who to talk to. What’s great about these organizations is that they can bring about real change by starting petitions and organizing events to help push laws that can protect those in need. The recent killings of Asian women in Atlanta have sparked conversations within the justice system for stricter U.S. hate crime laws. Many are calling to pass laws that establish tougher penalties for crimes motivated by race and gender. There is also a need for uniformity in these laws as current laws differ by state. It’s shocking that as of now, three states - South Carolina, Arkansas, and Wyoming - have no hate crime laws. This needs to change.
Right now more than ever, there’s a crucial need to support Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Marita Etcubañez, senior director of strategic initiatives at Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) states that we must “listen to the immediately impacted folks - the communities on the ground - and honor what they’re asking for, and what they’re saying they need.” Additionally, if you witness a hate crime or incident, it’s recommended that you speak out and intervene if possible. Many times, the victims can’t defend themselves and won’t report the incident. It’s also recommended to check in with your Asian American peers. They are very afraid right now, so any kind gesture could help tremendously. Many may assume that these crimes are a wave that comes and goes, but we need to see it as a deeply structural and cultural problem within the U.S. We must advocate for awareness everywhere we go, ranging from our friends and family to the workplace. We need to start the conversation now so that we can end this time of hate.
Layne, N. & Sullivan, A. (2021). Killings of Asian women renew push for tougher U.S. hate crime laws. MSN News. Retrieved from
Ramachandran, V. (2021). What you can do to fight violence and racism against Asian Americans. PBS News Hour. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/what-you-can-do-to-fight-violence-and-racism-against-asian-americans