Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, STOP AAPI Hate, a new reporting center, has documented over 1,900 hostile incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the U.S. over an eight-week period.
STOP AAPI Hate, a collaborative of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CCA), and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department, is gathering data that would otherwise not be reflected in national hate crime reports due to the narrow federal definition that guides hate crime data collection. In California, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Justice Statistics Center (CJSC) collects hate crime data from law enforcement agencies (LEA’s) across the state, publishing the data on Open Justice. The state’s definition of a hate crime reflects the federal definition and often does not capture the hostility towards specific groups, as this hostility can extend beyond the narrow definition of a “crime” and can come in many forms, including bias or discrimination. Launched in March of this year, the STOP AAPI HATE initiative is encouraging all who have witnessed or experienced any type of harassment to report these incidents directly to the center, so that organizations and agencies can respond to specific community needs with adequate resources. In addition to distributing information and resources to those impacted, CAA’s co-Executive Director Cynthia Choi says, “’We also need to mobilize community groups and to demand greater accountability from government agencies and leaders to address anti-Asian racism. In times of crisis and longer term, we need to work alongside other communities that are targeted to get at the underlying causes of hate.’” To learn more about the STOP AAPI reporting center’s findings click here. To visit the STOP AAPI reporting center, click here.
Photo credit: Hossam el-Hamalawy
Strategic multiracial solidarity efforts push back against Islamophobia.
Vigilant Love, a grassroots organization, brings together Los Angeles-based Japanese American and Muslim American communities to challenge Islamophobia through direct action, political education, artistic performances, and open vigils for community building. In February 2017, after the first iteration of the “Muslim Ban” executive order was enacted, Vigilant Love organized a nonviolent sit-in and rally at the Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal, drawing about 3,000 people. traci ishigo from Vigilant Love shares the importance of multiracial solidarity:
“When there are moments of socio-political fear that’s weaponized against marginalized communities, we actually need to be practicing and staying true to a sense of vigilant love. That includes creating safety and protection, rather than a hyper-vigilance or fear of certain communities, which only leads to further violence against people of color. For the Japanese American community, who knows what it’s like to be surveilled, forcibly removed, separated from their families, and then incarcerated, there’s just a high sense of responsibility and need to relate to communities who are being directly impacted today. When you show up in solidarity, it’s an opportunity for honoring our history, which serves for intergenerational healing. It also reaffirms the injustice that happened to our communities so that it doesn’t happen again to Muslim Americans or other targeted communities. And so for me, it's deeply important that Japanese Americans are showing up alongside Muslim Americans to build those actual relationships so that strategic solidarity can be possible.” To learn more about their strategies, visit Vigilant Love.
Photo credit: Daniel Tomita