Celebrities, creatives, and members of the fashion industry are speaking out to raise awareness about the recent uptick in hate crimes targeting the Asian community in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Using the hashtag #StopAsianHate, social media users are sharing their own experiences with racism or calling on their followers to speak up and stand up for those who are affected by and vulnerable to racist violence, especially the elderly.
In the past month or so, there have been troubling reports of violence against Asian seniors in the United States. In January, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was attacked by a young man in San Francisco and died from injuries, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. In Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood, there have been more than 20 assaults over the past two weeks, the city’s Chamber of Commerce president, Carl Chan, told The New York Times. Earlier this month, 61-year-old Noel Quintana was slashed in the face with a box cutter on the subway in New York. Earlier this week, a 52-year-old woman was attacked outside of a New York City bakery, leading her to get 10 stitches in her head. There are many other incidents not documented as well.
Olivia Munn, Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu, Chrissy Teigen, and more have spoken out about the recent crimes. In the fashion space, advocates calling to #StopAsianHate include designer Prabal Gurung, Oscar de la Renta and Monse creative directors Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, author and Instagram Head of Fashion Partnerships Eva Chen, Allure Editor-in-Chief Michelle Lee, journalist Susie Lau, fashion bloggers Chriselle Lim and Tina Leung.
Fashion designer Phillip Lim shared in a video that he learned some of his own friends and colleagues were “bullied, harassed, attacked in their neighborhoods within these past several weeks.” He also expressed his concern over what seems like lacking mainstream media coverage over such incidents.
“Besides a few, my friends, colleagues, and adjacent communities barely whisper about it, and have yet to ask how we are doing,” he said. “It feels as if we do not really matter or exist.”
While speaking to Harper’s BAZAAR‘s editor in chief, Samira Nasr, Wednesday, Lim noted that there is no “simple solution” to the xenophobic attacks aimed at the Asian community. “The point is education, awareness,” he said. “The other point is going back to the root of it all. And the third thing is understanding that those who hurt have been hurt, and this is perpetual. And if we snap back and take reactionary actions, what is the end game of that?”
The Queens Chronicle reported that, according to NYPD data, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen by 1,900 percent in the past year. Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition aimed at addressing discrimination against the Asian community amid the pandemic, reported that it has received more than 2,808 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states and Washington, D.C., from March 19 to December 31 last year. More than 7 percent of those incidents involved Asian-Americans aged over 60 years old. The wave of hate crimes and racist remarks seem to stem from former president Donald Trump’s xenophobic messaging, calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” or “kung flu” because the initial outbreaks were first identified in Wuhan, China.
Many of the social media users, with platforms big and small, have been sharing bright yellow “Stop Asian Hate” infographics to enlighten their followers about the overlooked crimes and ways to stand in solidarity. The images were created by artist Steffi Lynn, who worked with Eva Chen to create the graphics based on data from Stop AAPI Hate and the NYPD statistics reported by the Queens Chronicle. There was a planned rollout to post the pieces with a handful of allies on Tuesday morning, Lynn tells BAZAAR.com. “Shortly after I asked people to share, repost, and tag others, it started gaining traction.”
The main goal for Lynn, who was born in Austin and now lives in Brooklyn, was “to raise awareness that this is happening all over the country.” She adds, “The hope is to unite our community and fight anti-Asian hate crimes and protect our elders. The racism has always existed, but the pandemic has provided new avenues to misplace anger in hateful ways against minorities and it’s not okay. It is time to stop Asian hate.”
Cynthia Choi, one of the co-founders of Stop AAPI Hate and co-director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, shared some actionable steps with BAZAAR on ways people can help.
- Encourage those who experience or witness acts of hate towards the AAPI community to www.StopAAPIHate.org which is available in 11 different languages.
- Share resources with your friends and family on what to do if you encounter or witness hate.
- Be informed about what is happening and why.
- Be civically engaged in your local community and ask your elected official what they are doing to address racism.
- Donate to www.StopAAPIHate.org and a network of organizations dedicated to addressing anti-Asian racism at the local level. Movement Hub, a platform and database for on-the-ground AAPI organizations across the country, is a great resource to find groups to amplify in the community.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US