Rising Asian Hate Crimes: Actions to Take

What you can do to help the AAPI community!

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  • Ethnic Course studies classes available at Mt. SAC.

    Image by Valerie Ky
  • MECA’s AAPI Healing and Activism Space describing the history of AAPI.

    Image by Valerie Ky

The amount of hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are rising, and many are calling for action and justice. Since the acts of violence done to those of AAPI many organizations and support groups have formed to support victims of hate crimes and discrimination.

Last month, Valerie Ky, one of the two Mt. SAC counselors hosted an event called the AAPI Healing and Activism Space for MECA students to attend.

“I wanted to provide a space for AAPI students and allies to come together to discuss how they were feeling and identify ways where we can support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities,” Ms. Ky said.

The increase in hate crimes was her main motivation: Over 6,603 hate attacks occurred over the course of the pandemic according to Stop AAPI Hate, a massive growth from last year’s 2,600. Hate crimes have risen up to 223% in New York, with many saying that anti-asian hate crimes are severely underreported.

These incidents may be physical attacks, shunning, harassment, and more.

“I think it’s very disappointing and heartbreaking to see, I myself can’t really understand the amount of hate you could have towards people of different backgrounds and ethnicities, it just doesn’t make sense to me really,” one MECA student who took part in a campus survey about the issue shared.

In the survey, AAPI students at MECA reported being “scared of going out,” becoming extra cautious, and receiving “dirty looks” in their communities.

“How could you hate someone you’ve never met? and then take action to harm them when they themselves have never done anything wrong,” another student said.

Despite more awareness about these crimes, there is no sign that they are decreasing in number.

“This is such a relevant and pressing issue to discuss given how COVID-19 has created an onslaught of hate crimes against the AAPI community,” says Ms. Ky.

She had many ideas on what students at MECA and in the community could do to help.

“I encourage Mt. SAC Academy students to take an Ethnic Studies course for Special Admit…In our K-12 school curriculum, there is not enough education around the history of exclusion, discrimination, and racism that AAPI folks have faced.”

Ethnic Course studies classes available at Mt. SAC.
Ethnic Course studies classes available at Mt. SAC. (Valerie Ky)

Teachers have been working hard to include more content that includes AAPI history and/or written by AAPI authors, but Mt. SAC does offer an Ethnic Studies class which MECA students can take via the Special Admit Program for high school students.

Ms. Ky also says that, “A lot of times, students feel like they aren’t an ally because they aren’t an outspoken force who is marching/protesting or organizing events.” She clarifies that “We all play different roles — not all of us are visionaries and disruptors. We can be storytellers, guides, caregivers, healers, etc.”

Her best advice was to be present and aware of what is happening so that people can support those around them who are affected.

“Please continue to check in with your AAPI friends. Many of us may appear that we are fine, but some of us are having a hard time experiencing ongoing trauma of people in our community being attacked. Simply just checking in even if some of us may not say a lot goes a long way!”