Organizers behind Friday's #StopAsianHate National Day of Action and Healing aim to highlight ways for individuals, businesses and communities to end racism and violence targeted toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).
The initiative, started by Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-N.Y., and Assemblymember Evan Low, D-Calif., comes at a time of increasing reports of anti-Asian hate incidents, which were put into sharp focus following the March 16 Atlanta-area spa shootings that killed eight people, including six Asian women.
The national coalition Stop AAPI Hate said it received 3,795 self reports of anti-Asian hate incidents between March 2020 and last month. Many say the uptick in reports of anti-Asian hate racism is part of a long history of xenophobia in the U.S., as well as racist characterizations of the coronavirus from the former presidential administration.
The day of action and healing initiative offers a "Day of Action Toolkit" with numerous ways individuals can learn more about the history of anti-Asian racism in the U.S. and uplift the work of AAPI communities.
A focused list of AAPI community actions further states ways groups including the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, media outlets and state and local governments can support or report on policy that impacts the safety of AAPIs.
Organizers also say business leaders can take part now to address long-standing anti-Asian racism in larger communities, such as by increasing corporate giving for AAPI-led advocacy groups. Business leaders are also encouraged to confront anti-Asian bias perpetuated within their own workplaces, such as including AAPIs in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; disaggregating employee data among AAPIs (which encompasses many ethnicities and experiences in the U.S.) to track recruitment and retention; and supporting AAPI employee resource groups.
Parents and care providers can advocate for improvements to how Asian American history is incorporated into school curriculum, organizers say.
Organizers and community leaders add that anyone can take part in supporting AAPI-owned restaurants, shops and services in their community, which have been hit disproportionately hard during the pandemic between decreased foot traffic and rising anti-Asian xenophobia.
Stop AAPI Hate found from their data in the last year that the majority of hate incidents, ranging from violent attacks to verbal harassment, take place in businesses, public streets and public parks. As a result, many organizers encourage individuals to take part in a bystander intervention training. Hollaback, a global organization aimed at ending harassment in all of its forms, hosts free trainings using a five-point strategy to distract, delegate, document, delay and direct.
In a Washington Post Live conversation Friday moderated by opinion writer Jonathan Capehart, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., further implored the public to take part in the national campaign.
"What we wanted with this is to have an echo all across the United States that people are standing up against this hate, that they want us to come together and join forces and be able to welcome everybody of every ethnic background to this country," Chu said. "We hope this is a wakeup call to Asian Americans and the nation that this must stop. We can all do our part."
Rep. Mark Takano, D.-Calif., also encouraged AAPIs who experience hate incidents to report them to local authorities. For those concerned about increased police involvement, he said people can work with local AAPI-led groups or contact their local members of Congress, who can connect them with case workers and resources to document and work through a hate incident.
According to the campaign's website, March 26 was chosen as the day of action to recognize the date the Naturalization Act was signed into law in 1790, which prohibited non-white people from becoming U.S. citizens. It was repealed and replaced nearly five years later.
Organizers are also supporting a global vigil for the victims of the Atlanta-area shootings will take place on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.