Racially motivated harassment of Asian Americans is a longstanding issue in the U.S., but in the year since COVID-19 entered the country, incidents have been on the rise.
The violence and harassment are part of structural, systematic erasure of AAPI people, says Amanda Nguyen, CEO and founder of Rise. Though task forces and memos are good first steps, they “cannot undo centuries of commission and erasure” of Asian Americans, Nguyen added.
“In order for us to truly tackle the root of this problem, it must be done in all of the places that hold the keys to telling our stories,” Nguyen said. That includes teaching AAPI history, covering these communities in the news and telling their stories in Hollywood. “The problem is invisibility, therefore the solution has to be informed, thoughtful visibility.”
It’s also important to not just compare issues across communities, but rather work together in solidarity, activists say. “Justice is a fabric that has threads from all different communities, “Nguyen said.
Helen Zia, AAPI activist and author of “Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People,” said there have been many historical examples of solidarity between Asian Americans fighting alongside Black Americans, Latino Americans and Indigenous Americans, as well as for issues like women’s rights and against homophobia.
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