10 ways to show your support for Asian communities

March 18, 2021

This week’s tragic shooting is yet another reminder of the long history of anti-Asian racism in the U.S. and Canada. Here’s how you can take action, learn more, and rise up against hate.

At Stand.earth, we unequivocally denounce all anti-Asian hate crimes and manifestations of white supremacy in all its forms.

This week’s tragic shooting in Atlanta, Georgia targeted three different businesses staffed primarily by Asian women, where a white male shooter entered and killed eight people, six being Asian women. Anti-Asian racism has been present for a long time in the U.S. and Canada, but hate crimes have recently skyrocketed alongside inflammatory rhetoric about Asian communities regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

An important part to reckon with right now is that this tragedy could have been prevented. This egregious and racist hate crime (and it’s important to recognize this as a racist act, not just some random act of violence) serves as a reminder of how important it is for every one of us to speak up, show up in solidarity with our Asian colleagues, friends, neighbors, and family, and do our part to combat anti-Asian racism. Every. Single. Day.

In that spirit, we’d like to share the following resources for those looking to take action, learn more, and rise up against hate:

  1. Understand how bad the problem of anti-Asian racism has gotten. Between March and December 2020, the U.S. coalition Stop AAPI Hate documented nearly 3,000 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate crimes. In Canada, the group Fight COVID Racism documented more than 900 incidents during the pandemic, and in the city of Vancouver, BC, anti-Asian hate crimes went up more than 700 percent. (It’s also important to understand why many in the Asian community are saying more policing is not the answer to this rise in hate crimes.)

  2. Understand the broader history of anti-Asian hate crimes. Some media coverage has characterized the rise in violence as new, but it is rooted in a long history of racism and U.S. policy, beginning with the first wave of East Asian immigrants who came to the U.S. in the 1850s. Canada has a long history of racism toward Asian communities through its immigration, education, and employment policies, and for decades some were barred from voting. Both countries have a long history of vilifying minority groups including Asians during times of crisis.
  3. Reach out to your Asian friends, colleagues, family, and neighbors. Even if they aren’t showing it, they may be affected. Let them know that you are holding space for them, but don’t burden them with your feelings or expect they’ll want to talk about what’s happening. It’s important to also remember to invest in Asian joy and culture – try gaining a new perspective by seeking out museums, film festivals, music, or books centered on Asian history or the Asian experience.

  4. Don’t reinforce the Model Minority Myth. The invisibility of the struggles felt by Asian Americans and Asian Canadians can be traced back to the mythical characterization of this group as “ideal immigrants” with the stereotypes of being compliant, successful, and faring well. For many, asking for help, despite how challenging the COVID-19 pandemic has been, can feel insurmountable due to the expectations that this model minority myth has set.

  5. Celebrate the diversity of Asian heritages – and don’t treat them as a monolith. The model minority myth is often reinforced by people who think that Asian Americans and Canadians are largely made up of Chinese and Japanese heritages. But with more than 18 million Asian Americans in the U.S. and 2.3 million in Canada, the term “Asian” actually encompasses more than 30 different nationalities and ethnic groups, including Samoan and native Hawaiian from the Pacific Islands; Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Hmong from Southeast Asia; Pakistani and Indian from South Asia; Afghani and Iranian from Central Asia; and Korean, Japanese, and Chinese from East Asia, among others.

  6. Understand nuanced ways racism against Asian people shows up. Many Asian stereotypes are regularly portrayed in books and films, such as the “exotic woman”, the “Japanese tourist”, the “whiz kid”, and more. These stereotypes continue to shape how many teachers and students perceive Asian Americans, and even how they view themselves. It’s easy to find dozens of articles on the internet asking whether Asians are People of Color (Hint: yes, they are) but as one writer pointed out, Asian Americans are often not perceived as POC by either their peers or themselves.

  7. Diversify your social media feed. One of the easiest ways you can begin to unpack your unknown racial biases toward Asian communities is to diversify the accounts you follow on social media. Seek out and amplify Asian voices by following accounts like @stopAAPIhate, @annie_wu_22, @angryasianfeminist, @kimsaira on Instagram, or track conversations on Twitter through the #StopAsianHate and #RacismIsAVirus hashtags.

  8. Support organizations working on racial justice for Asian communities. Supporting Asian communities doesn’t have to be monetary. You can show solidarity by following groups and individuals on social media, signing up for emails, or attending rallies and events in your city (if it’s safe for you to do so during the pandemic). Groups in the U.S. include Stop AAPI Hate and Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), and in Canada include Project 1907 and the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice.

  9. Donate if you can. If you have the financial means, consider providing monetary support to groups who are providing direct support to Asian communities, like the Asian Mental Health Collective, 18 Million Rising, and Save Our Chinatowns (Bay Area) or Welcome to Chinatown (New York). In Canada, Asian Canadian groups are calling for more support for Asian and migrant sex workers. You can donate to advocacy and service providing organizations like SWAN, Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network, and Maggie’s Toronto.

  10. Order takeout from a local Asian food restaurant or shop at a local Asian grocery store. This is such an easy and important way to show solidarity with your Asian neighbors living in your own community, and it’s delicious, too!