The May celebrations of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, which began more than 20 years ago in the U.S. and more recently in the U.K, have been marred in recent years by a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, which accelerated dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic and unfortunately, show no signs of stopping.
From March 2020 to December 2021, hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have held steady at over 500 incidents per month, according to Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition formed in 2020 to track and combat anti-Asian bias.
And this year, most Asian Americans still feel like violence is on the rise, according to an April 2022 Pew Research survey.
The Pew survey asked participants what can be done to help end the violence, with the largest percentage (44%) indicating the need for making stronger laws against hate crimes. 17% asked for more community watch programs, and 14% wanted a stronger local police presence.
Besides these measures, we at Cutover believe that raising awareness of both AAPI culture and the biases they face is an important way to fight ignorance that can all too often lead to discrimination and violence. As Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
We’ve gathered 6 resources for you to read and share, to help us work toward a year when we can celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage month with complete joy — not fear:
- - Learn about the incredible contributions the AAPI community has made to science, art and government – from cancer detection, to birthright American citizenship, to the ice cream cone.
- - Read the origin story of Asian Pacific Heritage Month, the brainchild of a former Capitol Hill staffer whose great-grandfather helped build the transcontinental railroad, and who was killed during a time of anti-Asian unrest.
- - Explore Twitter’s #IAmNotAVirus, a social campaign that shares personal stories of AAPI history and accomplishments.
- - Access resources designed to help Asian Americans cope with trauma, depression and other mental health issues, as well as understand the stigmas, biases and cultural forces that can affect mental health in the AAPI community.
- - See 100 creative, innovative ways that AAPI allies – artists, athletes, lawmakers, teens and many others – are fighting hate by raising awareness, changing laws and changing minds.
- - Look back at Cutover’s 2021 heritage month post, which featured a fireside chat with Dr. Hyun-Joo Lim of Bournemouth University, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, along with a list of organizations promoting AAPI heritage and assisting communities.
Please spread the word about these resources, and consider volunteering to help AAPI groups in your community or making a donation. Chances are, they still need your support.