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 our 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, DC. 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 victimising elderly Asian people." According to a new study, anti-Asian hate crimes in major cities surged by around 150% in the past year.
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.
"I think that the coronavirus and the way it has been racialized by our previous administration has aggravated and given an alibi to a racism that is always not quite gone but now surging forth," Anne A. Cheng, a comparative race scholar and professor at Princeton University, told CBS News.
If you have any time or money to give, there are a lot of organisations, mutual aid funds, and nonprofits fighting to end anti-Asian violence and support Asian Americans as hate crimes continue to rise. Here are some ways to help and places to donate, with a focus on supporting vulnerable groups including women, elders, sex workers, and survivors of violence.
Help citizen patrol groups
Citizen-led watch groups in California's Bay Area are helping to protect vulnerable elders within Asian-American communities. One organiser is raising funds to hire security patrol in Oakland’s Chinatown. And if you live nearby, you can help accompany elders, clean up rubbish, and support the community — just sign up here.
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, or sign up to help with community organizing. Many advocates are also encouraging donors to look into the Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network, which helps support and protect sex workers and fight for their rights.
Support survivors of gendered violence
Both domestic violence cases and instances of anti-Asian hate crimes have risen with the pandemic. Womankind offers a 24/7 multilingual hotline, safe and confidential emergency housing, legal assistance, support groups, and therapy services for survivors, particularly Asian immigrant women. The Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project offers resources and one-on-one services to survivors in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
Help victims of anti-Asian violence
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.)
Shop small local businesses, especially in Chinatown
Many people have noted the necessity of supporting Chinatown in New York and San Francisco: Many 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. But patronising your own local Chinese restaurant is only a start. Help support businesses by providing Chinatown residents with meals from restaurants via Feed + Fuel Chinatown or Send Chinatown Love's Gift-a-Meal program.