For some, it has been no surprise to see the alarming increase of hate crimes against Asian Americans considering the former president of the United States in not so many words blamed them for the Coronavirus pandemic that has killed 585,000 and put millions of others in the U.S. on financial life support.
According to the FBI, among single-bias hate crime incidents in 2016, there were 4,426 victims of race/ethnicity/ancestry motivated hate crimes, and the second lowest demographic was anti-Asian basis with 3.1 percent of all hate crimes that were reported that year. In 2019 that number rose to 4,930 and 4.4 percent of those were victims of anti-Asian bias.
Then COVID-19 arrived along with Trump’s comments nicknaming the disease, the Chinese virus and Kung-Flu, and just like that racial hate crimes became the second most deadly virus against Asians and Pacific Islanders. According to a report posted by Stop AAPI Hate there were 3,795 anti-Asian hate crimes reported between March 2020 and March 2021. When you stop and really put that into perspective, in the last 12 months there have been almost the same amount of hate crimes against Asians as all of the hate crimes combined.
As videos of violent attacks against Asians started to surface online almost daily, it was the March 16th spa shootings in Atlanta where eight people were shot and killed, six of those being women of Asian descent, that initiated the hash tag #StopAsianHate and really flipped on the lights. For me personally, it is so deeply detestable that we even need to continually create marketing campaigns to remind others to stop being shitty people, but here we are again.
Businesses Supporting the Asian American Community
The good news is the social media presence has again created awareness, and that awareness has cultivated businesses, entrepreneurs, and brands to step up and dedicate financial support to causes and foundations that are actively working to decrease the rise in hate crimes against Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, YouTube cofounder Steve Chen, OpenTable CEO Debby Soo, and Care.com founder Sheila Marcelo are among the business leaders committed to the pledge to collectively donate $10 million over the course of a year. The group will partner with the Asian Pacific Fund to support community-based organizations, including Stop AAPI Hate, AAPI Women Lead, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Association for Asian American Studies.
Wesley Ng – CEO of Casetify has curated a collection featuring work from Asian American artists and the company has pledged to donate 100% of the proceeds towards the nonprofit initiative Stop AAPI Hate when you purchase one of the cases featured on their Stop Asian Hate page.
In the last month, Bank of America expanded its $1 billion program to advance racial equality, pledging $1.25 billion and including the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. And according to Forbes Magazine, GoFundMe—creator of the now viral #StopAsianHate hashtag—launched the AAPI Community Fund, raising more than $5 million from brands such as YouTube, Airbnb, and Panda Express along with other donations from more than 44,500 people. Monetary commitments have also been made to various organizations by Etsy ($500,000), Nike ($500,000) and Peloton ($100,000).
Meena Harris, niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, founded Phenomenal to uplift women by raising money through apparel. Her Phenomenally Asian t-shirt is helping to raise money for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. This tee is unisex and has been sported by the likes of Lisa Ling, Jeremy Lin and more.
Celebrities Stopping AAPI Hate
Actress Olivia Munn, whose mother is of Chinese descent and is from Vietnam, leapt into action after the mother of an Asian American friend was assaulted and knocked out outside a New York City bakery. She posted pictures and rallied an online citizen’s watch that helped lead to the attacker’s arrest. Since then she has teamed up with Ken Jeong, Di Barbadillo, and Director Bao Nguyen to create the video Together to promote their GoFundMe campaign for AAPI Community Fund which has raised over $6 million dollars so far.
Actor and political activist Daniel Dae Kim lobbied U.S. lawmakers to pass stricter laws aimed at reducing hate crimes and on April 23, 2021 the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act was passed overwhelmingly by Congress.
As entrepreneurs and business owners, it is time to realize that change isn’t just something in your register drawer. Standing up against hate and injustice is something you can actively be a part of and should be a part of. And not just because over 57% of Americans now believe businesses should lend their voice and platforms to social justice, but because victims of hate could also be your customer, your employee, your vendor, your colleague, your community member, your neighbor, or could even be you.
What are some other businesses helping to stop the violence against Asian Americans? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.