A briefing hosted by Ethnic Media Services discussed the rampant incidents of hate experienced by the American Asian community. Since March 2020, the web portal Stop AAPI Hate has logged 10,370 reports of hate incidents: women, especially those who are elderly, were the targets in the majority of incidents.
Recognizing that Asian American women are experiencing a fresh wave of violent, hate-related attacks panelists shared their views on how to move past the hate and strategies for keeping the community safe.
Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum shared images of her heritage. Stressing the toll the pandemic has had on communities, she expressed concern that Asian American women were being targeted both for their race and gender. Over 70% of AAPI voters said that they had experienced racial harassment. Sung also shared the history of Asian American women through the eyes of a society that views them as entertainment and as submissive. Most of these characteristics were less favorable to their status in society and made them subject to harassment. It would be beneficial to see them for who they are, hardworking, smart, and quiet.
Marita Etcubañez, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, Asian Americans Advancing Justice discussed some strategies to take action, especially during the pandemic. The harm that racist rhetoric brings to society is very important to address. She shared that more people have joined to fight this and people are eager to learn what they can do to address Asian American hate connected with the pandemic. We need to continue to build the power of the contributions of the Asian community. She tested a number of strategies and made an appeal to stop hate and violence towards Asian Americans.
Michelle Kang, General Secretary of the Atlanta Korean Committee against Asian Hate talked about the Atlanta community’s response to Asian hate in the state of Georgia. AAPI has become louder, especially after the March 8 2021 massacre. A commitment was formed against Asian hate, a vigil was held as the community sought to dispel myths about Korean immigrants, Korean Americans, and Asians. Books were donated in Korean and English to schools as well. During Asian History month events were held to fight systemic racism.
Sasanna Yee, inspirational speaker, and yoga teacher shared about survival in this atmosphere at the mind, body, and spirit level. Teaching them that they matter such as the BLM is a valuable slogan and so they came up with “Asians Belong” as a tool for empowerment. This phrase is affirming and not to be seen as foreigners. They are reclaiming their status here and affirming that this is indigenous land and they are now reclaiming the playground. She encouraged choosing love over hate, learning each other’s culture whether it is an African dance or Chinese shogun we are choosing love. She concluded by imploring everyone to do a breathing exercise in memory of her grandmother who was a victim of Asian hate. She updated that her grandmother‘s assailant was currently awaiting trial and has been in jail for the last two years.
EMS director Sandy Close gave an emotional closing, thanked everyone for being on the panel, and encouraged reporters to cover these stories with more humanity.