Rising hate crimes against Asian-Americans


NYC Human Rights

Posters made for the “I Still Believe in Our City” campaign by artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, address the racism and harassment Asian people face.

After eight people consisting of six Asian-Americans were shot at an Atlanta Spa, people throughout American began to pay attention to the increasing attacks towards Asian-Americans since COVID-19. On Nov. 17, 2019, the first possible case of COVID-19 was confirmed from Hubei province in China. About a month later cases in Wuhan, China, were reported by doctors. When COVID-19 began to spread to America it was often referred to as “Chinese Virus” or “Wuhan Virus,” and some even went as far to refer to the virus as the “Asian Virus.” These names for the virus created stigmatization towards Asian people in America. Even American government officials used these inaccurate and xenophobic terms to refer to the virus which only further spread bigotry. 

Early on, people blamed COVID-19 on not only China but on Asian people as a whole. These harmful stereotypes began to cause violence and harassment toward Asian-Americans. Many Asian-Americans faced being shunned or stared at, and some even reported being coughed at or spit on. However, the violence did not stop there. On July 14, 2020, a Chinese woman was slapped in the face by two men, and they set her clothes on fire in Brooklyn, New York. This is just one of many heinous crimes that was reported against Asian-Americans in 2020. In fact, according to “The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism,” anti-Asian-American hate crimes reported to police rose 149 percent between 2019 and 2020. 

On March 16, 2021, a gunman shot and killed eight people. The shooting occurred at an Asian-American-owned spa in Acworth, Atlanta and six of the people killed were Asian. The rise of hate crimes committed against Asian-Americans was not something that was hidden. Perhaps what shook people was hearing each one of the victims’ stories. The fact that single mother Hyun Jung Grant who passed away on the sixteenth left her two sons. Or that Suncha Kim, who died that day, was a beloved grandmother who had worked two to three jobs at a time to get her family to where they are today.

National Day of Action and Healing, March 26, was a time for the Asian community to come together and begin to take action to stop Asian hate. Protests and rallies allowed for people to speak up about the racial injustices they have faced, especially in the past year. Due to their efforts, lawmakers approved legislation which will help establish and report hate crimes towards Asian-Americans. The bill was approved with an overwhelming amount of support, a 94-1 vote. The bill will not only help people to report on racially motivated hate crimes, but it will also allow The Department of Health and Human Services to create guidelines on what language is appropriate to use when talking about the pandemic. This will help to eradicate xenophobic language when referring to COVID-19. Going forward America needs to do better. Leaders of the nation should not be promoting violence and injustice towards groups of people. It is crucial to continue to make laws that will help minorities begin to heal.