How do we keep learning and restarting in the face of continued attacks a year after the Atlanta spa shootings?
By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
The first day of spring brings us sunshine and warm rain. I have once again ordered too many seeds from Kitazawa Seed Company for my garden. Gai lan, pak choi, mustard, mizuna, arugula, pea shoots, daikon, tomatoes, flowers. After a long winter, I am always desperate for greens at this time of year and I can never wait until the last frost date (May 3) to begin planting. Nevertheless, every year I try again, with a little more study and a little more hope. Always hope.
On the one-year anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings, I moderated a panel at the University of Michigan that sought to bridge the 1982 killing of Vincent Chin with the 2021 Atlanta spa shootings. We hear from elder activists about Asian American and Black student sit-ins in the U-M administration building in the 1970s to demand ethnic studies (a few years behind California). We hear stories about how community members of all races and ethnicities came together in the 1980s to demand justice for Vincent Chin. And we listen to current students talk about how the Atlanta spa shootings shook them but how Asian American studies gave them the most current tools to begin their activism journeys now. Full circle.
Although not all attacks targeting Asian Americans are hate crimes, stereotyped perceptions of Asian Americans and the continued stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to make us targets.
While Stop AAPI Hate has collected reports from more than 11,000 Asian Americans about hate crimes or hate incidents since the start of the pandemic, a new study released last week by AAPI Data and Momentive indicates that those self-reported numbers are likely an undercount and that actually closer to 12.5% of Asian Americans experienced a hate crime or hate incident in 2020, 15% in 2021, and 8% already in the first few months of 2022. They also found that Asian American men experience hate crimes and hate incidents at about the same rate as Asian American women, but are less likely to report. Also, Asian Americans are not alone in experiencing hate violence, and from January 2021 through early March 2022 (14.5 months), 17% of Black adults, 16% of Asian American adults, 15% of Native American adults, 14% of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander adults, and 13% of Latino adults experienced hate crimes or hate incidents, compared to only 6% of white adults. And 83% of Asian American parents are concerned that their children may be bullied because of their race or ethnicity.
But when the problem seems so huge, what can we do about it?
I recently spent a day volunteering at the Mississippi Food Network, the only food bank serving the entire state. It was straightforward but gratifying work – packing juice boxes and cereal boxes into Ziplock bags so that children would have food over the weekends when they are out of school.
The 1990 Institute video team has a great story about Chinese urban millennials in Shanghai who are embracing a worldwide movement that combines running and picking up litter. As they run, they are also becoming more aware of the litter on their city streets and the connection between consumption and the environment.
Watching Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson keep her cool during her Senate confirmation hearings is an education and an inspiration.
We keep learning, we keep planting seeds, we keep restarting. Always hope.
Part of the reporting for this essay was made possible by the Nissan Foundation
WATCH A year after deadly spa shootings, Asian Americans continue to face physical, verbal abuse | PBS NewsHour Amna Nawaz reports on how attacks against Asian Americans have continued across the U.S. since the Atlanta spa shootings a year ago and speaks with Erika Moritsugu, a deputy assistant to President Biden and the Asian American and Pacific Islander senior liaison at the White House.
‘We are being hunted’: One year after Atlanta spa shootings, Asian Americans are more scared now than ever | The 19th Reports of anti-AAPI incidents are on the rise — and advocates are urging policymakers to do more to help.
ESSAY “Turning Red” Made Me Feel Understood As a Chinese-American Teen | Teen Vogue “With her giant red panda confidence, Mei is an inspiration for me.”
Garrett Hongo’s ‘The Perfect Sound’ Chronicles Life and Identity in Audio | South Seattle Emerald People constantly boxed him in because of his identity — how could a Hawaiian-born, Los Angeles kid love the blues and Giacomo Puccini opera? “This is a resegregation of consciousness.”
Activist father of U.S. Olympian Alysa Liu targeted by Chinese spy ring | PBS NewsHour “We believed Alysa had a very good chance of making the Olympic Team and truly were very scared,” Arthur Liu said.
A Chinese vlogger shared videos of war-torn Ukraine. He's been labeled a national traitor | CNN His daily videos, posted across various platforms, quickly gained traction as a rare voice offering Chinese audiences a glimpse into war-torn Ukraine — a stark contrast from Chinese state media.
Biden talks with China’s Xi, aims to press him on involvement with Putin | PBS NewsHour President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping spoke Friday as the White House looks to deter Beijing from providing military or economic assistance for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
4 ways China is quietly making life harder for Russia | CNN Business "China is not a party to the [Ukraine] crisis, and doesn't want the sanctions to affect China," Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Tuesday.
‘We need to tell the truth more than ever’: Meet Women of the Year honoree Melissa Borja | Indy Star Melissa Borja is a University of Michigan professor and founder of the Virulent Hate Project, a research project collecting and analyzing data around anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congratulations to Martin Yan for winning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the James Beard Foundation. Read our profile here.
- JOB OPENINGS: MARKETING MANAGER and EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – Do you have a passion for Asian American issues? Interested in U.S.-China relations? Experienced in marketing? We have a Marketing Manager position for you! The right candidate should have demonstrated success leading social media marketing efforts for nonprofit organizations and hands-on experience with relevant marketing tools. Find more information and apply here. In addition, we’re growing and seeking a passionate, strategic, and entrepreneurial Executive Director to build our impact through fundraising, marketing, and key collaborative partnerships. This person will lead and concentrate on the execution and implementation of both the vision and strategy for the organization. Those interested in the ED position should submit a resume and a cover letter to Azzani Search Consultants. Please email Tarek Azzani at email@example.com. Eunice Azzani is available for questions at (415) 987-3300. See details here.
- NEW VIDEO – Have you heard of plogging? It’s an activity that combines jogging with picking up litter! Our new video called “Plogging: Trash Runners in Shanghai'' explores this activity in China and debuted on March 18, Global Recycling Day. The rise in rapid economic growth, increased wealth, purchasing power, and consumption in China has had an impact on its environment. Trash, especially plastic waste, is a common problem in Chinese cities as well as other cities around the world. This video is about the Chinese millennials in Shanghai, Trash Runners, who are partaking in a worldwide movement that combines running and trash pickup. See plogging in action here on our YouTube channel and visit our Reference Library for more resources on this and related topics.
- VIDEO LAUNCHING TODAY – One year ago, on March 26, 2021, Stand With Asians held a day-long awareness campaign with 12-hours of live streaming and in-person events focused on standing up against anti-Asian hate. Stand with Asians was formed in February 2021 during the wave of Asian hate crimes that swept across America after one of its co-founders, Tian He, learned that his friend was the victim of a brutal stabbing in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Today we are launching a video of our interview with Tian and posting a profile on New Asian American Voices on Instagram where we highlight unsung Asian American stories.
- CONGRATULATIONS TO MARTIN YAN – Martin Yan is a master chef, pioneering cooking show host, prolific cookbook author, food and culture ambassador, and international award winner who is known for his generous philanthropic initiatives. He’s supported the 1990 Institute in the past, donating to our gala and auctions, and we’re thrilled that he just won the 2022 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award. We are featuring Chef Yan in a new profile in our New Asian American Voices program. See more about Martin Yan and his many accomplishments here. What’s your favorite recipe?
- BOOK DISCUSSION – In addition to penning our newsletter essays, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a prolific writer, passionate speaker, multicultural educator, and activist on Asian Pacific American issues. In her new book released earlier this month, “You Cannot Resist Me When My Hair Is In Braids,” she navigates the space between cultures and reflects on lessons learned from both Asian American elders and young multiracial children. Join her for a virtual book reading and talk on Monday, March 28 at 7:30pm PT. Don’t miss “Frances Kai-Hwa Wang: Lyric Reflections on Family, Hope, and Asian American Culture,” presented by Town Hall Seattle.
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