Los Angeles — As Inauguration Day approaches, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders fear a new round of hate incidents across the country, targeting many vulnerable segments of our community, particularly immigrants and Muslim Americans. In response to these concerns, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice), a national affiliation of five leading civil rights organizations, announces the launch of a new website to collect and track incidents of hate targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
“While hate crimes and incidents have surged to the top of news coverage leading up to and following the November 8th election, attacks against AAPIs have received little attention,” said Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. “But anecdotally, Advancing Justice has heard of a number of incidents including physical threats and attacks as well as vandalism and hate messages, all targeting Asian Americans.” In response, Advancing Justice launches the #StandAgainstHatred website to serve as a tool to track and expose hate crimes and harassment against members of the AAPI community.
“In the ten days immediately following the election, nearly 900 incidents of hate were reported around the country, including reports that were clearly anti-Muslim, anti-Asian, and anti-immigrant,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director, Advancing Justice – AAJC. “With the inauguration only a few days away our community is fearful of a new barrage of attacks. We cannot stay silent when our communities become victims of hate speech or harassment.”
Among the incidents targeting members of the AAPI community have been:
- Two days before the election, swastikas were etched onto the glass of a Taiwanese community center in San Jose;
- In December, a similar incident occurred in Southern California when vandals deliberately spray-painted red swastikas on the grounds of a Korean Presbyterian church in Buena Park;
- In November, mosques in California, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, received handwritten letters of hate calling for genocide and referring to Muslims as the “children of Satan.”
The spike in verbal and physical threats towards racial, ethnic, and religious minority groups since the election has been particularly directed at Muslim Americans. This uptick of hateful actions follows a year of astounding escalation in anti-Muslim hate crimes, which showed a 67% increaseduring 2015. Data from 2015 also shows a jump in anti-Chinese hate crimes, likely in response to escalating Presidential campaign language attacking China on trade and economic grounds.
The #StandAgainstHatred website fulfills the need to track hate incidents within the AAPI community that are not often captured or reported. The website encourages people to report instances of harassment and hate based on factors such as cultural identity, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. Collecting the reports and stories from our communities allows us to monitor and expose hate incidents across the nation and give voice to those whose stories have not captured media attention outside of the AAPI community. Reporting incidents to Advancing Justice will also allow us to identify incidents that have legal or policy responses. Advancing Justice encourages AAPIs who believed they have been victims of hate incidents to tell their stories on www.standagainsthatred.org.
“Our reporting website acts as a platform to capture information so we can begin to share experiences and create a collective, up-to-date report of what is happening in the Asian American community,” said Aarti Kohli, executive director of Advancing Justice – ALC (San Francisco). “While victims of hate crimes should contact their local law enforcement to report a crime or file a complaint, we recognize that many in our communities experience hate incidents where they may not want a police response. This website allows victims of hate in our communities to share their experiences with us, such as hate speech, harassment, bullying, and other incidents, including criminal conduct, and have their voices heard.”
The #StandAgainstHatred website was made possible through a generous donation by Charles H. Jung of Nassiri & Jung LLP.