By Mario Burton, Director of People and Culture
Hate crime attacks on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have grown over the last year both at the local and national level. Videos, articles, and news reports have been informing us of an increase in attacks of about 150% since the pandemic started. Additionally, a report released by Stop AAPI Hate explains that there were over 4,000 reported incidents between March 2020 and February 2021. We can’t and shouldn’t go without calling attention to this clear sense of racism and xenophobia against AAPI persons.
Our goal is to always stand up for and in solidarity with various marginalized and underserved communities. This is especially true in instances like this where community members are being physically attacked.
Many people educated within the U.S. education system do not know that AAPI communities have a history of both struggles and triumphs in this country. Some people are unfamiliar with the Chinese Exclusion Act or the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII as heightened anti-Asian paranoia permitted the manifestation of these biases into blatant discrimination. Hundreds of Asian-Americans were abducted, removed from their homes and places of work and placed in prison camps. Even with these challenges, various AAPI leaders such as Yuri Kochiyama, Lydia X.Z. Brown, Mia Mingus, Alice Wong, and Patsy Mink have participated in the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Rights, Disability Rights and various other movements for change in the U.S. These milestone moments are reflective of how AAPI persons have been key players in influencing many parts of American history. Learn more about Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage and history in the U.S at the NEH-Edsitement website.
Below are some additional resources taken from the website Stop APPI Hate for those interested in supporting the AAPI community during this time:
Safety Tips for Those Experiencing or Witnessing Hate
5 Things to Consider When Experiencing Hate
- Safety First: Trust your instincts and assess your surroundings. If you feel unsafe and you are able to, leave the area.
- Stay Calm: Take a deep breath, limit eye-contact, and maintain neutral body language.
- Speak Out (If you can do so safely): In a calm and firm voice establish physical boundaries and denounce their behavior and comments.
- Seek Immediate Support: Ask bystanders for support or intervention.
- Seek Emotional Support: Once you feel safe, take time to recover and reach out to someone to talk about what happened. Remember this is not your fault, and you are not alone.
5 Ways to Help If You Witness Hate
- Take Action: Approach the targeted person, introduce yourself, and offer support.
- Actively Listen: Ask before taking any actions and respect the targeted person’s wishes. Monitor the situation if needed.
- Ignore Attacker: Using your discretion, attempt to calm the situation by using your voice, body language, or distractions.
- Accompany: If the situation escalates, invite the targeted person to join you in leaving.
- Offer Emotional Support: Help the targeted person by asking how they’re feeling. Assist them in figuring out what they want to do next.
Services for Victims:
- Report an Incident online: Stop AAPI Hate – Report Incident
- Victim-based compensation: Funds available to assist those who have directly or indirectly been impacted by violence: California Victim Compensation program at Alcoda.org
- We are working on options to offer a possible self-defense training course for those interested in learning more about self-defense. We will keep everyone updated on the progress of this as we discussed this as an option during our first meeting.
We stand in support of the AAPI community and against the racist and xenophobic hate crimes that have occurred recently.
A LightHouse Student on Bias
Susan Kitazawa, an Asian American community advocate, gave her perspective on how people can confront their own prejudices.
“The biggest thing people can do to reduce APPI violence is to look into their own unconscious biases. Hate and violence are born of fear and not knowing the other. I’ve read two great books, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People (DB 80639 on the National Library Service Braille and Audio Reading Download) and Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer Eberhardt. I believe bias is a survival mechanism we have wired into us. It’s the ‘that’s not someone from my village’ mentality and a knee-jerk reaction that doesn’t make sense in the modern world. Everyone has biases and that’s the driving force of what’s going on.”