On Tuesday, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and two others were killed after a 21-year-old white man opened fire at three Asian spas in Georgia. Of the eight victims, six were Asian women. Sheriffs said that they weren't "ruling out" racism as a motivating factor in Robert Aaron Long's series of attacks, even though they believed his primary motive was a "sex addiction" that caused him to lash out. No matter what he (or law enforcement officials, or even the U.S. president) want to call the shootings, Long targeted Asian women in an attempt to "eliminate" a "temptation," per the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office. His actions were a hate crime.
And they were only the latest in a heartbreaking trend of targeted attacks against Asian Americans. One woman reported that a man called her a slur, coughed in her face, and physically threatened her at a metro station in Washington, D.C. In February, a man was slashed across the face while riding the subway. Just last week, 75-year-old Pak Ho died after he was attacked and punched by a suspect with "a history of victimizing elderly Asian people." According to a new study, anti-Asian hate crimes in major cities surged by around 150% in the past year.
It's just as bad in Canada. In September 2020, there were a higher number of anti-Asian racism incidents per capita in Canada than in the United States, according to data collected by the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) in partnership with Vancouver-based women-led grassroots advocacy group Project 1907. British Columbia had the highest amount of reported incidents in North America, followed by California, New York, and Ontario. Within the past year, anti-Asian hate crimes rose by 717% in Vancouver, and 70% of the time, the victims were women.
According to recent research published in the American Journal of Public Health, the use of anti-Asian hashtags began increasing after Donald Trump started calling COVID-19 "the Chinese Virus" and, shortly after, publicly blamed the Chinese government for the global pandemic. Trump referred to the virus as the "China Virus" as recently as Tuesday night, after the shooting in Atlanta. In Canada, the #FaceRace campaign was created in response to the spread of disinformation, blaming, and targeting of Asian Canadians since the beginning of the pandemic.
If you have any time or money to give, there are a lot of organizations and nonprofits fighting to end anti-Asian violence and support Asian Americans and Canadians as hate crimes continue to rise. Here are some ways to help and places to donate, with a focus on supporting vulnerable groups including survivors of violence, sex workers, and elders.
Help victims of anti-Asian violence in the U.S.
GoFundMe has compiled a collection of fundraisers for victims of racist hate crimes, vandalized restaurants, and families directly impacted by anti-Asian violence. (Warning: some graphic images.)
Support Asian sex workers
As the nonprofit Red Canary Song noted in a statement, whether or not the victims of Tuesday's shootings were sex workers, they were attacked due to sexualized violence and hatred towards sex workers, Asian women, and working-class people. You can donate to Red Canary Song's fund in support of dinners, educational events, and programs led by self-identified Asian American sex workers and allies. Many advocates are also encouraging donations to the Toronto-based Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network, which helps support and protect sex workers and fight for their rights. You can also donate to SWAN Vancouver, which provides culturally-specialized support and advocacy to migrant women engaged in indoor sex work.
Actively combat anti-Asian racism
Asian Canadian leaders collaborated with Ryerson University to create a toolkit for those who may be victims of or witnesses to racially fuelled hate or discrimination.
Report a xenophobic or racist incident
Elimin8hate is collecting anonymous data on incidents of racism, hate, and violence experienced by Asian Canadians. The information will be used to develop strategies and interventions, raise awareness, advocate for policies, and improve outcomes for communities.
Do some essential reading
Anti-Asian racism did not start with COVID and it’s important to continue to advocate beyond the pandemic. Visit Project 1907 for resources on anti-Asian racism, history, workshops, and learning tools.
This program provides hot meals for seniors living at the May Wah Hotel, a home for low-income elderly people, which is run by the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation. If you live in Vancouver and would like to donate meals, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also donate money.
Shop small local businesses, especially in Chinatown
Consider shopping or ordering takeout at your local Chinatown. Many people have noted the necessity of supporting Chinatowns across Canada; restaurants and other small businesses have shuttered, both because of the financial strains of the pandemic and racist, xenophobic fear-mongering around Asian food and restaurants.