Written by Joanne Bartolome

Empathie Creative KNOW Edmonton

With the recent shootings in Georgia and many individuals speaking about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Violence in North America, people have started to notice the recent hate crimes that has grown during to the pandemic. 

As an Asian woman myself, racism has always existed, and it is not just an American issue but a global issue. I have been told many times to act like a “submissive Asian woman” or been told to stay quiet like a good “Asian girl.”

Although with COVID-19, it has only added fuel to the fire, with discriminatory jokes such as “the Asian Virus” being spread across the web. 

We are being attacked.

We are being harassed.

And we are shaken, angry, and heartbroken.

What hurts the most for me is that my parents came to this country for a better life. They sacrificed everything to build a life in a place where English was not their first language. They did not have many friends around them and worked day and night to put food on the table. This story resonates with a lot of my Asian friends, and our parent’s resilience and courage are often not celebrated, and during this time, it is forgotten. 

Now, we must speak up to condemn hate and create a lasting change to stop the heartbreaking surge of violence. These attacks cannot continue to go unnoticed, and I ask you not to stand by and remain silent.

So, what is happening in the Asian and Pacific Islanders community?

In both the United States and Canada, xenophobia and racism have increased in Asian communities. There has been a surge of attacks, harassment, and hate crimes, with shocking numbers. Now more than ever, we must raise awareness about these hate crimes and educate ourselves on what is going on.

How do we educate ourselves?

I am a firm believer that to make a change in our community; education must come first. We must understand what an oppressed group is going through to speak out against discrimination of all kinds. 

Here are a few resources you can check out:
1. Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit: https://www.asianamtoolkit.org/
2. Asian Hate Crimes in Canada: https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/new-report-details-disturbing-rise-in-anti-asian-hate-crimes-in-canada-1.5358955   
3. Report incidents to https://www.standagainsthatred.org/resources  
4. Visit advocacy groups like Stop AAPI Hate in the U.S. and Fight COVID Racism

What else can you do?
1. Check in with your Asian and Pacific Islander friends and family.
2. Speak up when you hear any jokes or aggression. Call them out and be vocal about these comments, especially around friends or family.
3. Amplify other people’s stories. Use your platform to raise awareness about these hate crimes.4. Support a locally owned Asian business, especially in the food-related industry. Order takeout from that Asian restaurant you love and give back to the businesses that have suffered during the pandemic.
5. Support and donate to the AAPI Community Fund; your donation will go a long way. 

I truly believe that together, we can make a difference to #StopAsianHate, and all I ask is that you, our friends, followers, neighbors, and family, stand with us. To show up now, more than ever, to act and support racial justice.