As Amanda Nguyễn, a civil-rights activist and co-founder of Rise, a sexual-assault-survivor advocacy organization, noted: the past few weeks alone have seen several violent attacks on Asian Americans across the country: An 84-year-old Thai American man, Vicha Ratanapakdee, was killed in an unprovoked attack in San Francisco; a 64-year-old Vietnamese American woman was assaulted in broad daylight in San Jose and robbed of $1,000 in cash she had taken out for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebration; and in New York, Noel Quintana, 61, a Filipino American, was slashed in the face with a box cutter while riding the subway.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, recorded more than 3,000 hate incidents in their self-reporting system since late April 2020 – by far the highest number in the tool’s four-year history, including many hate incidents against people over 60 years. According to NYPD data, hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment spiked by 1,900% in the last year.
Simultaneously, we are heartened by kind, compassionate, and courageous acts of changemaking, for example:
- Jacob Azevedo, an Oakland resident, has had nearly 300 volunteers sign up to join his initiative: Compassion in Oakland – providing chaperones to anyone in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood to help them feel safe while running errands and outside.
- SV2 Partner Philein Wang, Artistic and Executive Director of Ziru Dance, has been doing work to help dispel feelings of isolation, xenophobia, and racism as a result of responses to COVID-19, while promoting equity between all parties. Ziru Dance has received support from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in the form of a grant specifically to counteract the backlash through her dance company. Philein and her team hosted a dance festival in December with this as its theme.
We are so humbled and in awe of Jacob and Philein’s efforts, those of organizations we’ve funded such as Asian Pacific Environmental Network, and more ways our community is coming together to uphold justice and compassion for all.