Asian Activism Goes Viral as Anti-Asian Violence Rises

While anti-Asian sentiment is nothing new, it is jarring to see just how astronomical the numbers of hate crimes have skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Just in the past few weeks, there have been violent assaults, robberies and vandalism towards Asian Americans. But while these racially-charged attacks have gone on, many have criticized the mainstream media’s lack of coverage. In response, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community leaders took matters into their own hands in order to shine a light on the issue. 

2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Amanda Nguyen took to social media to call forth major news outlets to report on the murder of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee.

Actors Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu offered $25,000 as a reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrator who assaulted three citizens in front of the Asian Resource Center in Oakland, California, including a 91-year-old man. 

Soon after, further calls to recognize the rise of racism against Asian Americans flooded social media.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka voiced her concern about having to learn about the incidents from Instagram.

“Crazy Rich Asians”’s Gemma Chan included a harrowing statistic of attacks against Asians in the UK during the pandemic as she asked others to raise awareness.

David Yi of beauty blog, Very Good Light, reminded us in an Instagram post that anti-racism must “acknowledge the Asian American experience.”

Actress Olivia Munn lamented her frustration with the rise of hate crimes and continuous silence from the mainstream media.

Rappers China Mac and Mistah F.A.B. met to have a conversation about the tensions between the black and Asian communities and emphasized the need for solidarity with one another.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support of the Asian American community.

Author May-lee Chai tweeted a comprehensive thread of recent racial attacks as well as a brief history of violence against Asians in America.

MTV News correspondent Yoonji Kim dissects the rise in anti-Asian violence and the political rhetoric that caused it.

Major media outlets have since reported on the assaults, however, activists in the community are now asking for more than just coverage. 

In a CBSN interview, Kim and Wu expressed the need for help from the government to help prevent these racially charged hate crimes in the future and to bring justice to those affected.

AAPI visibility in mass media is still widely underrepresented and while the makeup of entertainment is diversifying, that will mean nothing if people fail to pay attention. As Kim said, “Those of us who have been following these issues since COVID started have seen these kinds of incidents pop up almost daily and yet we see very little being done about it.”

The Asian American community should not have to solely rely on social media and celebrities for the news as they have every right to be a part of the national conversation, but until then, they must continue to rally together and protect one another until then.

Learn more about what you can do about the attacks made against Asian Americans or report an incident through Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition addressing the anti-Asian hate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.