On Tuesday, March 17, eight people were killed in shootings at three spas in Atlanta, with six of the victims being Asian women. The shootings have occurred at a moment when Asian Americans are faced with a surge in anti-Asian fuelled violence and hate crimes against them, sparked by the xenophobia and racism across the globe linked to COVID-19, and spurred on by former president Trump's harmful comments, calling COVID-19 the "China virus" and "Kung-Flu".
Over the course of the 11 months, we've been experiencing the pandemic, it's been reported by the Stop AAPI Hate forum that 3,800 incidents have been recorded, with a disproportionate percentage of incidents directed at women.
The organisation said that the shootings in Atlanta were “an unspeakable tragedy – for the families of the victims first and foremost, but also for the Asian American community, which has been reeling from high levels of racist attacks over the course of the past year.” Adding, “This latest attack will only exacerbate the fear and pain that the Asian American community continues to endure.”
Below, are some ways you can support the Asian community and fight the violence and racism taking place now and in future.
Donating is a great way to help from anywhere in the world. GoFundMe has a dedicated page to the Stop Asian Hate movement which directs people to individual causes under the Stop Asian Hate umbrella to donate personally and effectively. The AAJC is a legal organisation that aims to advance civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all through education, litigation, and public policy advocacy. Further to this, New York Magazine has put together a comprehensive list of organisations to donate to in support of the Asian American community. You can also donate to The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), which fights for reproductive health and rights and works to abolish sex-selective abortion bans and medical racial profiling. And to the Red Canary Song, which aims to support decriminalisation and labour rights for Asian and migrant sex workers.
Education is one of the most vital steps we can take to unlearn racially biased behaviour and understand the best ways to support communities facing discrimination and violence. As a start, you can read up on the New York Times' report on the racist and xenophobic hate-crimes taking place across the US, and learn about the history of anti-Asian racism in America before COVID-19. Additionally, you can watch the five-part PBS documentary Asian Americans and The Chinese in America by Iris Chang. You can also watch the YouTube documentary series about racism during the pandemic, Asian American Stories in the Time of Coronavirus.
Many of these hate-crimes and incidents have taken place in public settings. Learning how to mitigate these situations as a bystander is key to mitigating physical and emotional harm on victims of these attacks. The AAJC is hosting a number of bystander intervention training sessions via Zoom so anyone in the world can access these resources. Hollaback! has also published a workbook on a guide to bystander intervention for easy reading. You can also familiarise yourself with California's legislative proposal on racism, and watch this ABC News clip on standing up against AAPI fuelled racism.