Recently, hate crimes against Asian Americans and Anti-Asian hate groups have seen a rise in the United States. Much of this hate is fueled by racist beliefs and negative bias due to the spread of covid. Terms like “Kung Flu” and “China Virus” are used in hateful ways against Asian-Americans and were just the start of the rise of Asian hate in America. In order to combat these harmful beliefs and actions, activist groups like #ProtectAAPIcommunity and the #StopAAPIhate movements have seen a steady rise in supporters. These are movements that work against Asian hate and promote the spread of love and equality. Recently, they have been working hard to spread their message that Asian-Americans don’t deserve to be treated badly because of the coronavirus. While groups like these have formed and taken off during the past few months, the rise of influential activists has also seen a positive incline.
To understand more about AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) and some of its most influential activists, we can look back to the coining of the term “Asian-American”. Back in 1968, two graduates of UC Berkeley joined forces to create a movement meant to unite Asian-Americans of all descents within the United States. Together, Emma Gee and Yuji Ichioka created the AAPI, formerly known as the AAPA. The duo’s success came partially from the fact that they used the term “Asian American” which had never been heard by the public before. Rather than dividing off into smaller subdivisions such as Japanese and Filipino, by referring to the movement as the “Asian-American Alliance,” Gee and Ichioka were able to help unite Asians within America and also unite activists fighting for Asian equality. The unification of Asians in America caused the fight for Asian equality to become stronger and more powerful than ever. Both Gee and Ichioka are two of the earliest activists who fought for the AAPI movement and helped it become the widespread movement that it is today.
Along with older activists, many younger activists who fight for the AAPI movement have taken to social media to spread their messages. Some recent influential AAPI activists on social media include journalist Xixi Yang, fashion designer Ashlyn So, and activist-restaurant owner Lien Ta. Xixi Yang is a journalist and activist who focuses on the use of social media to spread the message of stopping anti-Asian hate. Yang has stated that “While previous generations have relied on authorities and federal institutions to recognize the threat and enact policy changes, the new generation of AAPI are taking it upon ourselves to ‘show receipts’ by recording hate crimes and exposing the injustice on social media. We’re empowered to use social platforms like Instagram and Clubhouse to organize support groups, provide aid, and pressure those in the position of power to respond.” Another activist, Ashlyn So, has shown support for Asian-Americans and has made her mark on the world as well. The 13-year-old designer began her journey at the start of the pandemic when she made face masks for frontline workers. As hate crimes against Asians increased, Ashlyn So took action by hosting and creating rallies to stand up for Asian-Americans. The young teenager held the Stand for Asians rally in San Mateo, California on February 27th of this year. Lastly, Lien Ta is an Asian-American restaurant and small-business owner who has fought for equality and kindness during the time of the pandemic. Ta has talked about her struggles about being a small-business owner that has suffered during the pandemic all the while having to deal with racist people because of the rise of Anti-Asian hate groups. Lien Ta has put her voice to use on social media by sharing her personal struggles and fighting for equal treatment of Asian-American business owners in the United States.
The fight for stopping hate against Asian-Americans is one that will continue until a change has been made; and with young influential activists like Xixi Yang, Ashlyn So, and Lien Ta, the fight will prevail. The support for the AAPI community is fueled heavily by social media and movements like #StopAsianHate and #ProtectAAPIcommunity. There’s no say for when Asian-American hate crimes will stop, but with the amazing young activists we have leading us today, we know justice for Asian-Americans will be served.
"AAPI Voices Are Taking To Social Media To Spread Awareness To #StopAAPIHate" (forbes.com)
"AAPI History: Activist Origins of the Term 'Asian American'" | Time
"How AAPI Hate Showed Me the Power of Women and the Intersectional Food Community" (livekindly.com)
"Ashlyn So, 13-Year-Old Activist and Designer, Is Fighting AAPI Hate" | Teen Vogue