Since the coronavirus pandemic began over a year ago, America has faced a troubling rise of attacks on people of Asian descent. President Joe Biden, in his first primetime address, called out the increase in crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, saying “it’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.”
Supporting and protecting those within the community means taking action and standing up to those who racially attack or harass AAPI individuals. To help, you can choose to donate, support local business, educate yourself, patron AAPI theatres, and more. Below, you’ll find a starter guide for suggested resources. While by no means comprehensive, this list is organic and will continue to grow and be updated as needed.
You can begin here, with an overview of petitions to sign, places to donate, organizations to support, and more.
The AAPI Community Fund
This fund aims to amplify AAPI voices and find ways to uplift, empower, and protect the AAPI community. Donations will support organizations that support the AAPI community with initiatives such as increased community safety and support for those affected by violence. In addition, the fund has partnered with GoFundMe to create a landing page for a variety of AAPI support needs here.
AAPI Progressive Action
AAPI Progressive Action is a nonprofit that works to empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, connect AAPI communities and their leaders, and promote awareness and action for progressive AAPI causes. Founded in 2017, the group achieves this mission by formulating and analyzing domestic policies of importance to AAPIs, collaborating with AAPI and allied organizations to promote a progressive agenda, and partnering with national and local AAPI and allied organizations to increase the participation of AAPIs in the voting process.
AAPI Women Lead
AAPI Women Lead and its #ImReady Movement aims to strengthen the progressive political and social platforms of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the U.S. through the leadership of self-identified AAPI women and girls with the goal ending the intersections of violence against and within the organization’s communities. The #ImReady Movement begins with a series of conferences that will raise awareness around the experiences that AAPI women have with #MeToo and gender and racial discrimination.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Since 1991, the group has advocated to advance civil and human rights for Asian Americans and build and promote a fair and equitable society for all through education, litigation, and public policy advocacy. They serve to empower communities by bringing local and national constituencies together and ensuring Asian Americans are able to participate fully in democracy.
Asian Mental Health Collective
The mission of the Asian Mental Health Collective is to normalize and de-stigmatize mental health within the Asian community, making mental health easily available, approachable, and accessible. Through projects such as social media groups, resource libraries, and video web-series, the organization aims to not only provide mental health support but also facilitate the difficult conversations we need to have to move forward together.
National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
The mission of the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association is to promote the mental health and well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. NAAPIMHA works to accomplish its goals of preventing suicide among youth, empowering mental health consumers, and pushing for access to high quality affordable mental health services for all by advocating for policy change, working with community-based organizations, training service providers, and developing developing mental health fact sheets in various languages.
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
NQAPIA seeks to build the organizational capacity of local LGBTQIA+ AAPI groups, develop leadership, promote visibility, educate our community, enhance grassroots organizing, expand collaborations, and challenge homophobia and racism.
Save Our Chinatowns
A grassroots initiative passionate about supporting Chinatown communities in the Bay Area through art, conversation, and shared love of food. Their goal is to build on efforts in creating art and culture focused initiatives to benefit Chinatowns. Recent projects have included a magazine launch, a Lunar New Year festival, and an AAPI women-owned business spotlight.
Stop AAPI Hate
This reporting center tracks and responds to incidents of racism against AAPI individuals in the United States. Their aim is to serve as the leading aggregator of anti-Asian hate incidents, offer multilingual resources for impacted community members, provide technical assistance from rapid response to preventative measures, support community-based safety measures and restorative justice efforts, and advocate for local, state, and national policies that reinforces human rights and civil rights protections. Read their latest report, issued March 16, here.
Welcome to Chinatown
A grassroots initiative to support NYC’s Chinatown businesses and amplify community voices that generates much needed momentum to preserve the neighborhood. The group offers small business grants through The Longevity Fund, meals to essential workers and at-risk residents through The Sik Faan Fund, and even has a database that highlights shops and restaurants in Chinatown. For more Welcome to Chinatown information, click here.
Call Your Representatives
Read up on any current legislation that supports and protects the AAPI community, then call your local elected officials to ensure they are supporting the bill. If they’re not yet, urge them to reconsider. If you’re unable to reach them, you can look at their voting record on items like House Resolution 908, which denounced racism against Asians in America.
Protect Asian Americans
Groups like Compassion in Oakland are stepping up to accompany anyone who is nervous about walking alone. If you live in the Bay Area and want to volunteer, sign up here. As an added layer of protection, all participants must show a negative test result for COVID-19. Compassion in Oakland is also starting to branch out, with applications open to start a group in your hometown. In addition, Hollaback! has begun offering virtual bystander intervention training to help allies develop the tools they need to respond to, stop, or de-escalate harassment faced by Asian Americans.
Report a Crime
Stop AAPI Hate’s website lets visitors make a report of any racist or discriminatory incidents toward the Asian community. From March 19, 2020, to February 28, 2021, the organization has had 3,795 anti-Asian attacks reported. The organization hopes they can use this resource to demand and enact policies to stop the growing hate crimes towards the community.
Check out this guide to responding to racism toward Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, published by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project. Or, read this article from the Learning for Justice Center that explores the Model Minority Myth, which explores why racism and hate crimes against the Asian communities are overlooked.
Listen to The Los Angeles Times’ Asian Enough? podcast, which dives into the identity and experience of Asian Americans. Each episode features a different guest, with Vice President Kamala Harris, Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, and Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu among those dropping by. Dear Asian Americans is another podcast for and by Asian Americans, focusing on authentic storytelling rooted in origin, identity, and legacy. Self Evident challenges the narratives of Asian Americans by sharing real and personal stories.
More of a visual learner? NBC Asian America has recently aired two programs that explore issues faced by the community today. “The Racism Virus” town hall focuses on the rise in hate crimes while Deported is a short documentary about a little-known crisis affecting Southeast Asian immigrants.
In addition, there are a number of theatre organizations focused on the AAPI experience that are worth checking out and supporting:
Asian American Performers Action Coalition
In 2011, a group of performers posed this question: “Where are all the Asian actors in mainstream New York theatre?” From there, AAPAC took on the responsibilities of organizing forums for the artistic community to discuss minority representation in New York theatre. Within a year, the group was working with theatres around the country to bring greater visibility to the lack of representation. Their most recent report explores the 2017–2018 season but the group has continued to do work with the Ghostlight Project during the pandemic.
The Asian American Arts Alliance
This nonprofit is dedicated to ensuring greater representation, equity, and opportunities for Asian American artists and cultural organizations through resource sharing, promotion, and community building since 1983. The group comprises a diverse alliance of artists, organizations, and arts supporters who believe that working together as a pan-ethnic, multidisciplinary community is essential to nurturing the development of artists and arts groups.
East West Players
Founded in 1965, this Los Angeles-based theatre company creates open and inclusive spaces to raise the visibility of the Asian American experience with their productions, development programs, and youth education. They’ve premiered over 228 plays and musicals and over 1,000 readings and workshops. The works they produce advocate for multi-faceted representations of the Asian Pacific American experience in the performing arts.
This not-for-profit creative studio’s mission centers on the advancement of Asian and Asian American performing artists and their work, empowering artists in a space that promotes social justice and change. The organization operates as a lab where early-career and established artists can experiment and innovate in the making of their art.
Founded in 1989, this not-for-profit theatre company focuses on producing and developing new, innovative, and challenging work by Asian American writers. After initially focusing on Filipino American experience, it expanded its mission to become a venue for Asian American playwrights of all ethnicities and origins due the growing need for a new work incubator for Pan-Asian American artists.
Formed in 1989, National Asian American Theatre Company highlights the significant and crucial contributions of Asian American theatre to American culture. They illuminate humanity and cultural differences through their repertory, which includes European and American classics as written with all-Asian American casts, adaptations and new works by Asian American playwrights, as well as new plays written by non-Asian Americans with an all-Asian American cast.
Pan Asian Repertory Theatre
Based in NYC and established in 1977, this non-profit theatre company envisions that Asian American artists can equally follow their artistic aspirations to reach the zenith of American Theatre. Their productions focus mostly on social issues that dignify the community and dispel stereotypes. In addition, the group has a substantial education program, both for developing emerging artists and school children.
National Asian Artists Project
Founded by Baayork Lee, Nina Zoie Lam, and Steven Eng, this organization is a community of artists, educators, and administrators who focus on showcasing work by Asian descent to serve multiple audiences, from underserved primary school students to seasoned arts patrons. Their programming includes annual presentations of new musicals, productions of already-existing musicals with Asian American casts, the Broadway Community Chorus, and the P.S. 124 Theatre Club.
While specifically focused on the South Asian experience, this NYC-based organizations is one of the biggest supporters of region’s art. Over the last 15 years, the company has researched a wide variety of spiritual and performance traditions, including Kathakali, Mohiniattam, and Kalaripayattu in India, as well as Charya Nritya and Lakhe in Nepal. This creates a greater understanding to how cultural practices shape society, define the relationship between nature and the dramaturgy of urban planning, and narrate the history of artistic migrations across the continent.
Using the Korean pronunciation of the Chinese character for the shaman/artist/warrior who connects the heavens and the earth through the tree of life, this Minneapolis-based company focuses on giving voice to the Asian American community. The group offers a number of professional development programs as well as presenting thought-provoking works to mainstream audiences.