As Asian communities began to eagerly anticipate the celebration of the Lunar New Year, our entire country has been faced with a heavy reminder that we all have great work to do to counter anti-Asian racism and racist attacks.
To our Asian adoptees, parents, and community members, we speak up and show up in solidarity and love for you. As an organization, we recognize that we are all enriched by racial and cultural diversity, and loudly state that we are with you.
As of Dec. 31, there were 259 anti-Asian incidents in New York reported to “Stop AAPI Hate,” a report center sponsored by the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and San Francisco State University’s Asian-American Studies Department.
The White House released a statement, acknowledging the role that xenophobic sentiments by political leaders have stoked unfounded fears and perpetuated stigma about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and have contributed to increasing rates of bullying, harassment, and hate crimes against AAPI persons.
Celebrities such as Daniel Dae Kim, Daniel Wu, Olivia Munn, and Gemma Chan have spoken out, demanding that the public, authorities, and the media pay more attention to anti-Asian attacks related to COVID-19. Family members of survivors of these attacks have shared their experiences, and outlined ways to support.
While the federal government, activists, anti-oppression organizations, and celebrities speak up and take action, how can non-Asian individuals respond and affect change in this moment?
1. For our non-Asian readers, check in on your Asian family members, friends, neighbors, and/or co-workers. When there’s a surge in overt racism, especially in the form of violence, we often take to our social media channels or condemn this behavior in conversations with our friends or loved ones. Before we spring into action, let’s check in on the Asian people in our lives, acknowledging that we recognize what’s happening. Demonstrate that you are paying attention, recognize the impacts, and let them know that you are there as a source of support, whatever that might look like to them.
2. For parents of Asian adoptees, we’re reminded of the words of wisdom of the adult adoptees who are part of the Heritage Camps community: Affirm how racism impacts your child’s experience in the world. Avoid any desire to minimize the impacts of racism, including the effects of racism in our larger society that may not be directed specifically at them as an individual. Model anti-racism in your relationships, reactions, and willingness to learn.
3. Advocate for anti-racist policies and practices at your child’s school, your job, your place of worship, and other community spaces. When violent racist attacks occur, we might be inclined to think that it won’t happen in our circles. Much of our work to challenge racism is on less extreme ends of the spectrum, and we know that true allyship to People of Color requires that we work on even less overt forms of racism, such as bias and stereotypes.
We wish our Asian and Asian American community a joyous and celebratory Lunar New Year, and invite everyone to join us in a commitment to affirm the value of racial and cultural diversity, and the actions that it will take to truly create a safe and inclusive community.