This is how you can help AAPI communities right now

Asian-Americans are hurting in the wake of the Atlanta shootings—and a year of rising hate crimes.

This is how you can help AAPI communities right now
Getty/Alex Wong

The heartbreaking news of the murder of six Asian women in Atlanta has unleashed a wave of grief, anger and fear among Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Police arrested a 21-year-old man on Tuesday for the shooting deaths of eight people at three different spas in the Atlanta area.

#StopAsianHate has been trending on social media following the attack, and members of the AAPI community have been sharing their frustration and pain online. Moms are expressing fear over whether their children will be bullied at school, or whether elderly parents are safe walking down the street. While those fears have now become part of a national conversation in the wake of the Atlanta shootings, the AAPI community has been dealing with them for far longer. Over the past year—roughly since the start of the pandemic—there's been a marked increase in anti-Asian hate and attacks.


"I get nervous, anxious, and scared every day that I have to make my commute to and from work," a New York mother named Iju shares with Mother.ly. "The thought of, 'Will I make it home tonight to my family?' crosses my mind every single day." Iju has a three-year-old daughter and says she's already considering whether she needs to start discussing racism with her. "She's very social and loves to play with others so I'm worried that kids will say nasty things to her one day just because she's Asian."

Joyce S., a Seattle area mom of Asian descent, shares that she's been struggling as well and simply wants those outside the AAPI community to acknowledge it. "There is a psychological toll that is exacerbated by white friends and colleagues who don't see it at all or ignore it," she explains. Asking an Asian-American friend or family member how they're doing right now may yield some heartbreaking—yet enlightening—answers.

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Listening to that pain can be a simple way to lend your support—but it's also important to remember not to saddle those who are struggling with that hurt right now with the task of educating you. "This is not a time to add further burden by requiring, implicitly or explicitly, Asian friends and relatives to tell you how they're doing or to judge us if we don't answer," Joyce explains. "Letting us know that you see us and are with us with no pressure to respond can be of solace." Joyce also shares that she would like to see more people taking concrete actions to help the AAPI community, through things like donations, advocacy, and activism. For anyone looking to be an ally, here are some ways to help right now.

Donate to Stop AAPI Hate

The group Stop AAPI Hate focuses on tracking and preventing anti-Asian hate crimes. Its most recent report logged nearly 3,800 self-reported incidents between March 2020 and February 2021. Nearly 70% of them involved verbal harassment, and a terrifying 11% involved physical assaults. Another startling statistic jumps out as well: Women were nearly two and half times more likely to report being targeted than men. The group offers tips on how members of the AAPI community can protect themselves against attacks, as well as what bystanders can do.

Support Asian-owned businesses

The Stop AAPI Hate report found that more than a third of the attacks reported happened inside businesses. It's another threat to businesses already dealt a devastating blow by Covid-19. Asian-owned businesses have suffered some of the biggest declines since the start of the pandemic, and racism likely plays a role in that. Financial support can help them keep their doors open.

Find a local protest or vigil

Demonstrators took the streets in several cities across the country to denounce hate following the attacks. Protestors in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. expressed their solidarity and amplified the voices of AAPI people. Vigils to memorialize the victims have also been held in multiple cities—keeping the focus on the women who lost their lives in the tragedy instead of the suspect who killed them.

Volunteer

Many community-based AAPI organizations are actively looking for volunteers right now. Some of them are directly responding to the spike in anti-Asian hate with a call for volunteers to act as protective chaperones for those who are vulnerable, especially the elderly. You can also sign up for bystander intervention training to learn how to safely deter an attack. The groups Hollaback! and Asian Americans Advancing Justice have partnered to offer online sessions.

Support AAPI mental health

The Asian Mental Health Collective has a dual mission: ending racism and hate against the AAPI community and destigmatizing mental health issues. The group works to make mental health support services more accessible and says the need is only growing. You can donate to support their mission here.

Keep talking about it

It's easy to offer thoughts and prayers and express outrage about anti-Asian hate in the wake of a terrible tragedy like the Atlanta shootings. But what many Asian-Americans are expressing right now is a desire to be seen, valued and respected every day. Those of us who are not part of that community but want to be true allies need to do our part to make that happen.

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