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The past year has undoubtedly been a difficult one, but Asian Americans have been feeling the impact more than ever. In major cities across the nation, hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased by significant margins. New York has been the most jarring example of this, with anti-Asian hate crimes increasing by 833% since 2019. In this article, we'll discuss the impact that 2020 has had on Asian Americans, along with what you can do to help.
New York isn't the only city that experienced anti-Asian hate crimes increasing this year; Los Angeles, Boston, San Jose, Philadelphia, and Cleveland all saw anti-Asian hate crimes more than double since 2019. Many activists have blamed former President Trump for this sudden increase in hate crimes. Chris Kwok, a board member of the Asian American Bar Association of New York, stated that "the political leadership under Trump really put a target on the backs of people perceived to be Chinese." At the same time, anti-Asian violence has increased outside of the United States as well. The London Metropolitan Police reported over two hundred incidents of hate crimes against people of East Asian appearance between June and September of 2020, which is a 96% increase when compared to the same time period a year prior. Polling conducted in the UK also found that three-quarters of citizens of Chinese ethnicity had been called a racial slur at some point in their life. This increase in both verbal and physical aggression has led to many Asian citizens feeling unsafe when leaving their homes, but they aren't afraid to speak out against this violence. As Sun-Lay Tan, a spokesperson for Security for All shared, "our responsibility is to speak out" and to make the world "better for the next generation."
Atlanta Spa Shooting
The most recent (well-publicized) anti-Asian hate crime was a series of shootings carried out at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area. Robert Aaron Long was arrested and has since admitted to conducting these shootings. Long claimed that the shootings were a result of his sex addiction and that he was attempting to "eliminate temptation" since these massage parlors were "providing an outlet for his addiction." According to a report recently released by CNN, Long has previously spent time in a rehabilitation center for this addiction. Victims of the shootings include Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng, who have all passed away as a result of the attack. Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz was also injured by the attack but is now in stable condition. A screenshot of an anti-Asian Facebook post from Long has been circulating on the internet following the attack, however, this post was proven to be false by PolitiFact.
How to Help
There are a number of ways to help reduce the amount of anti-Asian hate crimes that occur in America. Donating to organizations that help Asian Americans, for example, is a great way to make an impact. Organizations like the Asian Law Alliance provide legal support for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are unable to obtain legal support on their own. D.R.U.M. NYC is another organization that provides assistance to Asian Americans, including financial aid and educational help for those who need it. For a comprehensive list of organizations that work to assist Asian Americans, view this document, created by @Sasponella on Instagram. Even if you're unable to provide financial assistance to those who need it, you can still positively impact society through education. Almost 70% of Asian Americans have reported being verbally harassed as a result of Covid-19, and that number could easily be reduced by educating Americans on the impact their words can have. Calling coronavirus "Covid-19" instead of things like "the Wuhan Flu" is a good place to start, since a lot of the anti-Asian hate crimes that have been reported included hate speech that referenced the pandemic. Correcting friends and family members when they use insensitive language can be helpful as well because change starts with education. Remember that no amount of change is too small, so anything you can do to help can have a big impact.