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. 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. [Featured image: @Patrick T. FALLON / AFP]
Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that advocates for the civil and political rights of the Asian American and Pacific Island community, tracks incidents of anti-Asian discrimination. Between March 19, 2020, and February 28, 2021, the group reported 3,292 incidents of anti-Asian discrimination, 103 of which occurred in Texas.
In March of last year, a man in Midland stabbed members of an Asian American family in a grocery store, including two children ages 2 and 6. According to an FBI intelligence report, it was because “he thought the family was Chinese and infecting people with the coronavirus”.
Just last week, San Antonio Chef Mike Nguyen’s ramen restaurant was vandalized with racist graffiti after Nguyen spoke out against the governor’s lifting of the mask mandate.
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).
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 Southwest Houston and make a concerted effort to order from (and tip well) at restaurants or shops in your own community.
2. Make Financial Donations
If you are able, donating monetarily to organizations supporting Asian communities in Houston (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:
- OCA Greater Houston
- Asia Society Texas Center
- Chinese Community Center Houston
- Bellaire Asian Arts
- Daya Houston
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. Houston Against Hate has created a portal for residents to report incidents of hate, bias, or discrimination. You can also report an AAPI hate incident through OCA Houston. If you’re the victim of such crime, OCA also offers pro bono legal services. 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.”
The organization Stop AAPI Hate also has created its own reporting database of hateful incidents against Asian-Americans.
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
Asia Society Texas Center offers a variety of volunteering opportunities to further serve the cause of promoting cultural understanding. The society puts on over 150 public program a year, with cultural events ranging from music and dance performances, educational activities, film screenings, art exhibitions, policy discussions, street festivals, and more.