One of NOW’s central missions is to lead conversations that inform and empower activists to initiate lasting change.  Later today, I’ll be co-hosting an online conversation about the rise of anti-Asian Pacific Islanders American (APIA) violence, and how we can work together to stop this alarming trend. I hope you can join us from 6:00-7:00 EST;  you can register here

The fact is that the number of Asian Americans who feel unsafe in this country is growing exponentially. We see horrifying videos and images online and hear about incidents that shock and disgust us to our core. According to Stop AAPI Hate, a group that tracks reports of violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, they’ve received reports of over 2,800 hate incidents across the country since the start of the pandemic. There is likely a link between anti-Asian rhetoric heard over the last year in our public discourse in response to the coronavirus, but the issues are much more complex and long standing than that. 

One of our panelists today is New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, who represents lower Manhattan.  Rep. Niou has been a prominent voice in the Asian American community, and frequently speaks out about the historical roots of anti-Asian xenophobia in the U.S., and how she and her constituents have personally experienced verbal and physical attacks. 

The public surge in anti-Asian American hate crimes has also exasperated a worsening mental health crisis.  According to a new research study, as reported by ABC News, “Asian Americans who encountered COVID-19-related discrimination experienced higher levels of anxiety and depression.” 

I’m hopeful that today’s event will inform, educate and motivate participants to take up the challenge of countering attempts to racialize the coronavirus to fuel anti APIA hatred.  This is a growing grassroots movement that is energized by events and communities like ours.  Thank you for all you do for NOW!