As supporters of Rebuilding Together’s vision we have a responsibility to take action against racism

March 18, 2021
by Caroline Blakely, President and CEO at Rebuilding Together National

I am horrified by the murders that took place in Georgia on Tuesday. This is an unspeakable tragedy for the families of the victims and the AAPI community. As Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms put it, “A crime against any community is a crime against us all.”

We cannot deny the recent rise of hate crimes on our AAPI neighbors. Words have consequences and we have a responsibility to address the great deal of fear and pain in the AAPI community. A national report by Stop AAPI Hate shows a sharp increase in hate crimes over the past year, with most of those reports happening in businesses. The report also found that women are 2.3 more likely to report hate incidents than men. People under the age of 17 reported 12.6% of incidents and seniors over 60 reported 6.2% of the total incidents.

We, as neighbors and as supporters of Rebuilding Together’s vision of safe homes and communities have a responsibility to educate ourselves and take action against racism.

If you witness hate in your community, Stop AAPI Hate encourages us to take these steps to act now:

  • Encourage those who experience or witness acts of hate towards the AAPI communities to report an incident on their website. The reporting form is available in 11 languages. Reporting incidents helps Stop AAPI Hate understand what is happening and guides them in developing policies to advocate for.
  • Share safety tips with your friends and family on what to do if encountering or witnessing hate.
  • Be informed about what is happening and why.
  • Be civically engaged in your local community.
  • Ask your elected officials what they are doing to increase resources for survivors and their families, and for intervention- and prevention-based programs such as anti-racism education in schools and in communities. 
  • Advocate for expanded civil rights protections that would safeguard Asian Americans and other people from harassment in private businesses.
  • Work with your workplace, school, faith-based institution, union, or community organization to issue a statement denouncing anti-Asian racism and to encourage everyone to work towards racial justice.
  • Support Ethnic Studies in your local school districts and educational institutions. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have experienced centuries of violence in the U.S. We need to address the perpetual foreigner stereotype that frames Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as outsiders to this nation. Due to this Orientalist framing, Asians can be excluded, detained, deported, and attacked because they supposedly don’t belong here. Ethnic Studies helps teach students the sources of this racism and promotes racial empathy and solidarity.
  • Support local Asian-owned businesses. These businesses began seeing a decline in business even before the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the U.S. and stay-at-home orders were enacted.

We must not allow ourselves to become complacent to these acts of violence. Together, we have a responsibility to keep our neighbors safe and help one another when we see violence in our communities. Without it, we can never reach Rebuilding Together’s vision. This work is our responsibility and will be ongoing but by working together, we can build the safer communities we all envision.

Stop AAPI Hate is a partnership between San Francisco State University, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action. The partnership tracks incidents of discrimination, hate and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States. It was formed in 2020 in response to increased racially motivated violence against Asian people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.