On May 18, 2021, over 250 community organizations, 42 cities and states, and several dozen influencers, leaders, and elected officials are commemorating the third annual National Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Day Against Bullying and Hate, led by anti-bullying nonprofit Act To Change. The Oakland Asian Cultural Center is committed to ending bullying and hate in the AAPI community and is proud to join this movement.
National AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate is part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) and marks the birthday of Vincent Chin. In 1982, Chin was falsely blamed for the layoffs in the auto industry, and brutally murdered in a hate crime. His murder fueled a national Asian American movement, one that must continue today, in light of the rising xenophobia and hate crimes surrounding COVID-19.
America has a long history of anti-AAPI racism and violence. This brutal history of discrimination includes the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese American internment camps, colonization of Hawaiian islands, post 9/11 stereotyping, and use of the “model minority” myth – all of which portrays AAPIs as the “perpetual foreigner”, and evokes feelings of hate and xenophobia against the community.
Every day, kids of all ages suffer from being bullied online and in schools across the country. In the AAPI community, this problem is often compounded by cultural, religious, and linguistic barriers that can keep these youth from seeking and receiving help. And certain AAPI groups – including South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Micronesian, LGBTQ+, immigrant, and limited English proficient youth – are more likely to be the targets of bullying. Bullying of Asian American students is more prevalent than in other racial groups. 4 out of 10 Pacific Islander students face bullying.
This issue is now exacerbated by COVID-19. Act To Change’s Asian American Bullying Survey Report shows that 80% of Asians have experienced bullying, in-person or online, in 2021. There have been over 6600 cases of reported anti-Asian discrimination within the last year. Elderly members of the community have been slapped, punched, burned, and beaten on the streets. Two mass shootings in 2021 have taken the lives of 10 Asian Americans.
We publicly denounce all bullying and hate against the AAPI community, and stand in solidarity with Act To Change and more than 250 community partners to encourage the public to foster dialogue, share resources, and end bullying and hate.