Addressing the Rise of Anti-Asian American Racism and Xenophobia
The recent violent attacks against Asian Americans, and specifically working class Asian American women, in Atlanta, the Bay Area and across the country, are horrific and racist. Solidaire Network declares our solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and renews our commitment to funding movement building at the critical intersections of racial and gender justice.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stop AAPI Hate has recorded a 1900 percent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States including verbal harassment, physical assault, civil rights violations and online harassment. Women reported hate incidents 2.3 times more than men. These crimes are tied to growing anti-Asian rhetoric from the right that has cast China as America’s enemy and refers to the coronavirus as the “China virus” or “Wuhan virus,” and has contributed to the rise of white nationalist violence targeting AAPI communities. But we know that violence against Asians in this country is not new and is, in fact, rooted in the legacy of white supremacy, patriarchy, colonialism, and militarization.
Since people of Asian descent arrived in the United States, they have faced various levels of discrimination, exclusion and violence. In 1854, not long after Chinese immigrants began settling in California and western states during the Gold Rush, the Supreme Court ruled in People vs. Hall that people of Asian descent could not testify against a white person in court. The Page Act of 1875 restricted laborers from “China, Japan or any Oriental country” from entering the U.S., but in reality was about preventing Chinese women from coming, targeting them as prostitutes. The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 later banned all Chinese immigrants completely for 10 years. World War II drove greater anti-Asian sentiment, particularly against the Japanese and led to more discriminatory laws, incarceration and internment. Vietnamese immigrants were also attacked after the Vietnam War by the KKK and white extremists. These are just a few examples that illustrate the history of racism and otherization of Asians in this country. There are, unfortunately, so many more.
It’s critical that in our fight against anti-Asian violence, that we do not give space for anti-Blackness or increased presence of police and the carceral state. We are committed to multiracial coalition building and resourcing Asian-led and community-centered approaches to safety.
To effectively dismantle racism against AAPI communities, the entire spectrum of direct services to long-term movement infrastructure deserves long-term investment and solidarity. AAPI movement groups have traditionally been underfunded and overlooked by philanthropy, especially system changing work led by working-class women and femmes of AAPI descent. Currently, less than 1 percent of philanthropic dollars goes to funding AAPI causes, despite a powerful history of organizing and multiracial solidarity work. Asian Americans have joined forces with other communities of color in protesting the American colonization of the Philippines, the Vietnam War, advocating for civil rights led by revolutionary leaders like Yuri Kochiyama and Grace Lee Boggs, organizing against police brutality with the Black Lives Matter movement, and defending land and water protectors with Indigenous communities. In each day and in many ways, AAPI-led efforts make social justice more possible in the United States.
We believe in operating from a place of abundance and join AAPIP’s call for funders and donors to commit an increased amount of giving to these communities. Solidaire is mobilizing funds to our movement partners and networks that are addressing community safety and fighting anti-Asian racism and xenophobia. Here are some such organizations:
- AAPI Women Lead
AAPI Women Lead and the #ImReadyMovement aims to strengthen the progressive political and social platforms of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the US through the leadership of self-identified AAPI women and girls. Their goal is to challenge and help end the intersections of violence against and within AAPI communities while working in solidarity with other communities of color.
- Asians Americans Advancing Justice- Atlanta
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta is the first and only nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) in Georgia and the Southeast. Their work is focused on policy advocacy, organizing & civic engagement, impact litigation, and legal services.
- Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
The Asian Pacific Environmental Network focuses on Asian immigrant and refugee communities in Oakland and Richmond, California, bringing together a collective voice to develop an alternative agenda for environmental, social and economic justice. Working with multiple generations of Asian Americans in multiple dialects and languages, APEN plays a critical role in developing the leadership of AAPI communities.
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities works to build grassroots community power across diverse poor and working class Asian immigrant and refugee communities in New York City. They were founded in 1986 by Asian working class women alarmed by the spike of hate violence on Asian communities and its root causes stemming from institutional racism in the United States.
- Chinese Progressive Association
Since 1972, the Chinese Progressive Association has been educating, organizing and empowering the low income and working class immigrant Chinese community in San Francisco to build collective power with other oppressed communities to demand better living and working conditions and justice for all people. CPA engages in community education and organizing around health and environmental justice,workers’ rights, housing, immigrant rights, and other issues of concern to the organization’s members and constituents.
- Community Coalition for Safety and Justice
Community Coalition for Safety and Justice is a coalition of Asian American community organizations in San Francisco that are addressing inter-ethnic violence, anti-Asian racism, and building the city’s capacity to create alternatives to safety and justice.
- Equality Labs
Equality Labs is a South Asian technology organization dedicated to ending caste apartheid, gender-based violence, Islamophobia, white supremacy and religious intolerance. They build power through multiple strategies including community organizing, art, research, and digital security.
- New Breath Foundation
New Breath Foundation is a philanthropic foundation that offers hope, healing, and new beginnings for Asian American & Pacific Islander new immigrants and refugees, people impacted by incarceration and deportation, and survivors of violence.
For additional resources and links to learn more about supporting AAPI communities, check out: