The Power of Words: Anti-Asian Racism Spreading Across the World

Words are powerful. A single word can lead to inspiration or violent actions. 

We’ve all heard of the phrase “I have a dream” by Martin Luther King Jr. A dream where we all are united, where we come together as a community regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, etc. A place where we don’t have to fear for our lives when we walk on the streets. A place where we can easily grab a bagel at the deli without feeling threatened. A place where our children don’t have to fear the color of their skin, the way they look, and who they are. Martin Luther King Jr’s inspiring words sparked mass peaceful demonstrations. Not only did it start a movement, but Congress heard the people’s voices and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”

Since the start of the pandemic, former President Trump has called Covid-19 the “Chinese-Virus” and the “Kung-Flu.” His thoughtless choice of words has led to an increase in hate crimes towards Asians all over the world. According to the co-founder of Stop AAPI HATE, Dr.Russel Jeung’s data shows that there’s been “a 1900 percent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes against Asian Americans since the beginning of the pandemic.” Specifically, there has been a huge increase in hate crimes towards elderly Asians. Not only are Asian Americans facing the battle against Covid-19, but also against racist and ignorant people. 

Anti-Asian racism and discrimination did not start because of Covid-19. There have been many cases seen throughout the history of the United States. We have seen it in the People v. Hall in 1854. When a Chinese man witnessed a murder by a white man and testified in court. However, the Supreme court did not accept his testimony due to the fact they believed the Chinese to be inferior and were “incapable of progress or intellectual development beyond a certain point” and as such had no right “to swear away the life of a citizen” or participate “with us in administering the affairs of our Government.” Even before the pandemic, the government had a history of viewing Asians as lesser beings who are undeserving of rights. They were unable to voice their opinions or testify in court. 

Another case is the Rock Springs Massacre of 1885, where white miners intentionally killed 28 Chinese miners, wounded 15, and looted and burned 79 shacks and houses in Chinatown. In hopes of driving the Chinese out of Rock Springs. Their plan worked. No one was prosecuted even when “the killing had been done in daylight, in front of other people.” The terrified Chinese community wanted to leave and some managed to leave, but many were deceived and brought back to work in the mines so that the coal company can get their resources while paying low wages. Even to this day the history of the Chinese community has been lost and erased. As stated by University of Colorado’s modern Chinese History Professor William Wei, “It’s difficult to believe today that there were Chinatowns all over the American West. As many as over 200 of them. And yet they were driven out of those. Often, they were burned out, violently driven out.” Their cries for help were not heard back then. However, historian and archaeologist Dudley Gardner has been leading an excavation site for 40 years to uncover the lost history of the Chinese community in Wyoming. 

Even in modern society, we see discrimination against Asian Americans. Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai man in San Francisco was attacked in broad daylight by a teen and died. In New York, Noel Quintana, a Filipino man was slashed in the face on a subway train in Manhattan during a dispute. 19-year-old Christian Hall was shot 7 times and killed by police during a mental health crisis. In Bayside, Queens at a 7-Eleven Sungmin Kwon was shoved and got called racial slurs. These are some of the many recent instances occurring across the United States. 

It’s not just the United States, Asians across the world are facing discrimination. In England, Dr. Peng Wang, a lecturer at the University of Southampton got brutally beaten while jogging. Dr. Peng Wang states, “he had seen racism against Asian people increase after former US President Donald Trump used of the phrase “the Chinese virus” to describe Covid-19” and “if “hostile environment” did not improve he would bring plans forward to move his family back to China.” In France, Françoise, a 37-year-old Asian woman was beaten up, spat on, and yelled at with racial slurs by a young couple. In Australia, a 19-year old Vietnamese Australian woman was threatened with a knife and spat on. These tactics of bringing fear into the Asian communities are not new as seen in Rock Springs Massacre. These are just a few reports, but there are so much more that remain unreported. 

We need to use our voices to bring light to the racism and violence Asian Americans and Asians across the world are facing to show that they matter. We shouldn’t be fighting against each other but uniting together. It might be difficult to speak up, but in a time like this, we all need to work together and bring light to this issue and fix it. While it may not be an easy task, it is worth fighting for. We have seen the rise in Asian American communities using social media as a platform to spread awareness of what is going on. 

There are many resources to help the Asian American community. You can repost on social media, donate, volunteer, support your local Asian-American business, check in on your AAPI friends and family, and much more. 

For more information check out the links below:

Stay Up To Date

NextShark 

a leading company covering Asian American news.

CeFaan Kim 

an active news reporter at ABC7NY covering Asian Hate Crimes.

Asian Dawn 

keeping you updated by covering Asian news, entertainment, and sports. 

Reporting Attacks

Stop AAPI Hate Forms 

NYC Gov Stop Asian Hate

AAFederation Forms

Asian Food Delivery Services

Asian Veggies 

specializes in delivering Asian specialty products directly to your doorstep.

Weee! Grocery App 

an app to order groceries. They believe quality, freshness, and accessibility shouldn’t ever be compromised when it comes to food. 

Heart Of Dinner

works to fight food insecurity and isolation experienced by Asian American seniors—two long-standing community issues heightened by the pandemic. 

South East NYC

was founded in 2006 and has been serving your favorite restaurants, corporate cafeterias, caterers, and other food service businesses in New York City and its surrounding area. They decided to launch their online retail store and allow residential customers to get dibs on the best restaurant-quality Asian ingredients available.

Donate

Apicha Community Health Center 

provides affordable healthcare to BIPOC. They have extensive experience working with Asians and Pacific Islanders, Latinos, African Americans, and other people of color. We also specialize in serving individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, as well as people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Asian American Federation 

is one of the strongest leadership voices advocating for better policies, services, and funding that lead to more justice and opportunity for Asian immigrants, one of New York City’s poorest and most underserved communities since 1989.

Asian Americans for Equality 

advances racial, social, and economic justice for Asian Americans and other systematically disadvantaged communities, guided by our experiences as Asian Americans and our commitment to civil rights.

Coalition for Asian American Children & Families 

are the nation’s only pan-Asian children and families’ advocacy organization bringing together community-based organizations as well as youth and community allies to fight for equity for Asian Pacific Americans

Protect Chinatown  Venmo: @protectchinatown 

is an organization by the people for the people. It is founded on the principles of engaging and supporting the, often discounted, Asian-American communities. Their vision is to provide a sense of security through community-led collaboration, cooperation, and kinship.

Safe Walks NYC Venmo: @streetridersnyc 

is a community safety initiative formed during the weekend of New Year’s 2021 after multiple reports of women being violently assaulted at The Morgan L Subway Train Stop in Brooklyn.

Compassion In Oakland

provides the Oakland Chinatown Community with a resource for promoting safety and community. They aim to embrace the often forgotten, underserved, and vulnerable. They promote compassion not indifference, unity as opposed to divisiveness. Fostering a more caring and safer Oakland for all.

Send Chinatown Love

wants to create a digital community for Chinatown’s restaurants to sustain themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Welcome to Chinatown

is a grassroots initiative to support Chinatown businesses and amplify community voices that generate much-needed momentum to preserve one of New York City’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

Think Chinatown

was started by Chinatown neighbors that got to know each other through community events. They’ve grown to a network of dedicated volunteers from a broad spectrum of professional backgrounds: urbanists, artists, journalists, lawyers, architects, designers, tech specialists, photographers, poets. The one thing they all have in common is that they love Chinatown!

Mental Health Services

Asian American Suicide Prevention & Education

is a non-profit leadership organization that works to advance the civic voice and quality of life of Asian Americans in the New York metropolitan area. Established in 1990, the Federation supports and collaborates with 42 member agencies to strengthen community services, promotes strategic philanthropy within the Asian American community, and conducts research and advocacy concerning critical issues.

New York Coalition for Asian American Mental Health

strives to improve the quality of mental health care services in Asian American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area. Their mission is to address the unmet mental health care needs and service disparities of the Asian American population through advocacy, community service, professional development, and collaboration with government and local service providers.

A Safe Haven for Asians and Asian Americans

a volunteer-based group that has many resources on mental health. 

Charles B. Wang Community Health Center

they are a federally qualified health center offering comprehensive primary care services to all, regardless of their ability to pay, their language, or their immigration history.

Lower East Side Service Center 

is a not-for-profit organization providing a complete range of opioid treatment and care for New Yorkers living with chemical dependency issues. Their programs address opioid dependency with proven, clinically-researched methods to help our clients lead healthier, happier, and more productive lives.

For Queer & Transgender AAPI

Salga NYC

serves to promote awareness, acceptance, empowerment, and to create a safe inclusive space for people of all sexual and gender identities, who trace their heritage to South Asia and diaspora.

NAPAWT NYC

builds power with members to advance social justice and human rights for Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) women and gender nonbinary people living in New York. They are a community of AANHPI feminist visionaries and doers— passionate and dedicated individuals using our time, lived experiences, and respective skills to raise their voices, take bold, meaningful action, and lift up their community. 

Q-Wave NYC

is a grassroots organization of lesbian, bisexual,  and queer women and trans women, trans men, and gender non-conforming/non-binary/trans folks of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. They seek to build a strong and belonging community, create awareness around social justice issues, increase queer Asian visibility, and seek to uplift marginalized voices through their programming. Our community building has been and will be fueled by delicious food.

Gay Asian & Pacific Islander Men of New York 

is an all-volunteer, membership-based community organization with the mission to empower queer and trans-Asian Pacific Islanders* to create positive change. They provide a range of political, social, educational, and cultural programming and work in coalition with other community organizations to educate and promote dialogue on issues of race, sexuality, gender, and health.

Care Services for the Elders

Chinatown Senior Citizen Center 

is a social services organization that creates positive social change. They empower Asian American, immigrant, and low-income communities in New York City by ensuring they have equitable access to the resources and opportunities needed to thrive.

Korean American Senior Citizen Society

Is a nonprofit organization based in Flushing, New York.

Department For The Aging 

is committed to helping older adults age in their homes and communities. Its mission is to eliminate ageism and ensure the dignity and quality of life of diverse older adults. They also work to support caregivers through service, advocacy, and education.

Community-Led Organizations For Safety

Safe Walks NYC

is a community safety initiative formed during the weekend of New Year’s 2021 after multiple reports of women being violently assaulted at The Morgan L Subway Train Stop in Brooklyn.

Protect Chinatown

is an organization by the people for the people. It is founded on the principles of engaging and supporting the, often discounted, Asian-American communities. Their vision is to provide a sense of security through community-led collaboration, cooperation, and kinship.

Compassion In Oakland

provides the Oakland Chinatown Community with a resource for promoting safety and community. They aim to embrace the often forgotten, underserved, and vulnerable. They promote compassion not indifference, unity as opposed to divisiveness. Fostering a more caring and safer Oakland for all.

Protect Oakland Chinatown

are Oakland natives bringing awareness and support of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Elders and the greater community

Non-profit Organizations/Community Based Organization

Asian American Federation

is one of the strongest leadership voices advocating for better policies, services, and funding that lead to more justice and opportunity for Asian immigrants, one of New York City’s poorest and most underserved communities since 1989.

Asian Americans for Equality

advances racial, social, and economic justice for Asian Americans and other systematically disadvantaged communities, guided by our experiences as Asian Americans and our commitment to civil rights.

Coalition for Asian American Children & Families 

are the nation’s only pan-Asian children and families’ advocacy organization bringing together community-based organizations as well as youth and community allies to fight for equity for Asian Pacific Americans

Apicha Community Health Center 

provides affordable healthcare to BIPOC. They have extensive experience working with Asians and Pacific Islanders, Latinos, African Americans, and other people of color. We also specialize in serving individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, as well as people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Welcome To Chinatown

is a grassroots initiative to support Chinatown businesses and amplify community voices that generate much-needed momentum to preserve one of New York City’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

Think Chinatown

was started by Chinatown neighbors that got to know each other through community events. They’ve grown to a network of dedicated volunteers from a broad spectrum of professional backgrounds: urbanists, artists, journalists, lawyers, architects, designers, tech specialists, photographers, poets. The one thing they all have in common is that they love Chinatown!

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