How to Support Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities - Nerdist
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How to Support Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities

Right now, there is a continuous increase of violent and deadly attacks against Asian American communities. There are several prominent instances of these sudden and abhorrent assaults being levied against elder Asian people, including 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee’s fatal assault in San Francisco, a 91-year-old man being violently shoved to the ground in Oakland’s Chinatown, and Noel Quintana’s brutal face slashing on a New York City subway, among many other incidents.

But, the hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are getting exponentially worse and affecting people of all ages. In March 2021, six Asian women were murdered during a shooting rampage at three massage parlors in Atlanta. The culmination of these events have left many people even more fearful of leaving their homes, a decision that’s already difficult in the middle of a dire health crisis which heavily impacts low-income AAPI communities.

Racist rhetoric (buoyed by harmful stereotypes) surrounding COVID-19 certainly plays a role in this uptick of violence in the past year. The former POTUS calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu,” along with others pointing the blame of its worldwide ramifications towards Chinese people, has led to 3,795 reported discrimination incidents since March 2020; however, the United States bears a long and disdainful history of anti-Asian racism extending back to the 1800s (and likely prior) with Asian immigrants being the subjects of xenophobic “yellow peril” reports about their “uncleanliness” and “uncivilized nature.”

Over the years, harmful depictions of Asian people in media led to oppressive legislature (like the Chinese Exclusion Act) and racist language about their skin color and other phenotypical features became pervasive. Asian Americans have been in this dangerous, white supremacist fueled cycle from being seen as the “model minority” to help build America to a “foreign threat” whenever the US is in some sort of collective strife, with the most current being the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, reporting about the Atlanta shooting suspect’s alleged “sex addiction” further emphasizes the dehumanization and sexual fetishization of Asian women, whether their profession is tangentially tied to sex work or not.

The recent string of attacks have caused Daniel Dae Kim, Lewis Tan, Lulu Wang, Jeremy Lin, and other prominent Asian public figures to speak out about the targeted violence against their communities. The wake of the Atlanta shooting is sparking a wave of protests, social media conversations, and calls to action across America with people condemning verbal, physical, and social hatred towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Community organizations whose missions are to support, protect, and empower AAPI communities are also continuing to combat against the social and systemic barriers that threat their lives and security.

It is certainly a layered and complex situation that leaves many people wondering what they can do to help. There is no one specific and all-encompassing answer nor action to that question. Some have the ability and capacity to lend their support in a hands-on manner via volunteering, protesting, and community action.

Others are able to utilize their financial and social resources and donate towards and amplify organizations/individuals doing the vital work to uplift AAPI and provide others with a historical framework about their communities. Any of these actions must come with the understanding that allies are responsible for self-education, amplifying the work and voices of Asian people, and providing support without centering themselves.

The below list is a collection of organizations that can help you get directly involved, donate resources, or both in an effort to stand against Asian hate and push for positive change. Any further suggestions are welcome as this list is certainly not exhaustive.

Urgent Fundraisers

The Asian American Resource Foundation, Inc. has created a GoFundMe page to serve the immediate needs of the Atlanta shooting victims’ families. The families of Delaina Yaun, who lost her life in the Atlanta shooting, and Elcias Hernandez Ortiz, who was critically wounded during the same incident, have their own separate GoFundMe pages for funeral and recovery costs. Hyun Jung Grant‘s sons also has a verified GoFundMe to help them survive after their mother’s death. (At the time of this post, information about all the victims is still pending. Updates will be made accordingly.)

In addition, GoFundMe also has a Support the AAPI Community Relief Fund utilizing #StopAsianHate to provide funds to a list charities and grassroots organizations. The fundraising organization is compiling a centralized hub for all the Atlanta shooting victims and families GoFundMe pages to find them easier. You can also donate to the official GoFundMe for the families of Vicha Rantanapakdee and Noel Quintana to aid their continued need for support as well as the Asian American Advocacy Fund (additional details below.)

Organizations

Asian American Advocacy Fund

Founded: 2020
Based in: Norcross, GA

This grassroots 501(c)4 social welfare organization aims to advocate for the human rights of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians in Georgia. The fund’s policies include immigrant and racial justice platforms, fair districting and voting rights, and health and economic opportunities, among others. More information about donating and taking action can be found here.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta

Founded: 2010
Based in: Atlanta, GA

According to its website, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta’s is “the first and only nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) in Georgia and the Southeast.” The organization focuses on policy advocacy, organizing & civic engagement, impact litigation, and legal services.  Find out more about their work, how to donate, and ways to volunteer.


Asian Mental Health Collective

Founded: 2019
Based in: Nationwide

This non-profit organization advocates for accessible mental health resources for Asian communities across the globe. The collective provides videos, information, and a database of Asian therapists for those in need. You can head to their website for additional details about their projects and how to donate.


Red Canary Song

Founded: 2017
Based In: Nationwide

Red Canary Song is a grassroots collective of Asian and migrant sex workers. The group provides grants, programming led by sex workers, educational content, and works with other resources to push for the decriminalization of sex work. Donations towards their efforts can be found on their website.


Stop AAPI Hate

Founded: 2020
Based In: San Francisco, CA

This reporting center began tracking incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States as a response to COVID-19 xenophobia. Stop AAPI Hate is a vocal and leading aggregator of hate incidents and also provides multilingual resources for those impacted by discrimination and violence. Donate directly to their ongoing effort here.


Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council 

Founded: 1975
Based in: Various Locations

A3PCON is a coalition of community based organization that advocate for the rights of Asian and Pacific Island Americans in the greater Los Angeles area. The council promotes collaboration and collective planning/action among its members. You can find incident report forms and other vital information, including how to help, directly on its webpage. 


National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

Founded: 1996
Based in: Los Angeles, CA

The organization’s history page states it is the “only organization focused on building power with AAPI women and girls to influence critical decisions that affect our lives, our families and our communities.” NAPAWF focuses on a reproductive rights and health framework that extends to the overall well being of Asian American and Pacific Islander women and girls. Donate to their efforts and sign their ongoing petitions.


Heart of Dinner 

Founded: 2015
Based in: New York City, NY and surrounding areas

Heart of Dinner is a volunteer-run community effort that provides weekly meals to elderly Asian people. The food comes directly from Asian restaurant partners and Asian sponsor farms. You can lend a hand or provide financial support to founders (and life partners) Yin Chang and Moonlynn Tsai’s goal of providing 250,000 meals to senior communities.


DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving) 

Founded: 2000
Based in: New York City, NY

DRUM supports low-wage South Asian and Indo-Caribbean immigrant workers and youth in New York City. Its organizing model is based on outreach programs, leadership development, policy reform, alliances with diverse communities, and building democratic spaces for marginalized people to help shape public policy. Read DRUM’s informative blog, donate, and learn more about its many programs


Khmer Girls in Action

Founded: 1997
Based in: Long Beach, CA

Khmer Girls in Action helps to empower Southeast Asian girls and women by guiding them towards social justice organization. The organization aims for a progressive and sustainable Long Beach community that works for gender, racial and economic justice with Asian girls leading and benefitting from those initiatives. You can donate, volunteer, or shop the website to support.


Welcome to Chinatown

Founded: 2020
Based in: New York City, NY

This grassroots initiative supports Chinatown businesses and amplifies community voices in an effort to preserve NYC’s Chinatown neighborhood. The organization often highlights local businesses and supports residents while remaining respectful of their cultural practices. Shop the website and donate to aid their mission.


Oakland Chinatown Chamber Foundation 

Founded: 1985
Based in: Oakland, CA

The Oakland Chamber of Commerce advocates for business and families in Oakland’s Chinatown district. Find out more about the neighborhood and how you can support here.


Release MN8

Founded: 2016
Based in: Minnesota

Release MN8 is working to end Southeast Asian detention and deportation in America. The organization began in August 2016 as a response to eight Minnesotan Cambodian Americans, collectively known as the MN, being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Explore how you can get involved and make a difference.


Raksha

Founded: 1995
Based in: Atlanta, GA

This Georgia non-profit aims to promote stronger and healthier South Asian community through confidential support services, education, and advocacy. Raksha works towards healing, empowerment, and justice for survivors of violence. You can donate to specific causes and find out more about its work.


The Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) 

Founded: 2012
Based in: San Francisco, CA

As its homepage states, AAPCHO promotes advocacy, collaboration, and leadership to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. There are many ways to engage with this organization, including trainings and donations.

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