Here’s how you can support Philly’s AAPI community.
Though anti-Asian sentiment is sadly not a new phenomenon in the U.S., the country has seen an abhorrent rise in crimes and hateful actions against Asian Americans this past year.
Crimes targeting AAPI individuals rose by almost 150% in 2020 throughout the U.S. Nonprofit social organization Stop AAPI Hate disclosed that it has received around 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents around the country since the start of the pandemic, 97 of which came from Pennsylvania and 59 from neighboring New Jersey. And these numbers do not even cover every incident that occurred, as many are not charged as hate crimes or are simply underreported. APPI-owned businesses have also been facing a harsher crunch during the ongoing pandemic.
It is clear we must all do more to condemn violence, uplift Asian voices, and fiscally support marginalized communities in our own backyard. Here are 5 ways to start doing your part to help combat anti-Asian racism and create a more equitable Philadelphia, equitable country, and equitable world.
1. Support local AAPI-owned businesses in your neighborhood
As previously mentioned, Asian-owned businesses have been some of the hardest hit in the pandemic due to racist rhetoric concerning the novel coronavirus. Help your local businesses stay afloat by supporting them as much as possible.
While Chinatown remains mostly shutdown, Philly is home to hundreds of amazing AAPI-owned restaurants such as Kalaya, Baology, Morimoto, and many more that you can order in from to not only enjoy a delicious meal but also support the local community. Or you could also show your support by shopping at one of the many Asian grocery stores throughout the city, which you can find on this map containing the Asian Markets of Philadelphia. The shops on Seventh Street in South Philly, have also launched a COVID-19 program that allows customers to shop online and matches 50% of the value of a gift certificate up to $75.
2. Contribute to local organizations helping out Philly’s Asian communities
If you are able, monetary donations to organizations supporting Asian communities in Philadelphia (and across the U.S.) can have a great impact. These organizations are on the ground, knowing first-hand what is most needed and where to direct resources so they can be most helpful to the communities they are serving. Here are some ideas:
3. Volunteer your time and connect with those who could use your help
It’s no secret that the prolonged period of isolation caused by the pandemic is causing a serious mental health crisis especially among the elderly who have been forced to stay apart from their families. In partnership with Asian Arts Initiative, Chinatown’s On Lok House has created “Picture Pals,” a program aiming to connect seniors with the local community through the means of art. All you need is a drawing, a stamp, and an envelope to get started and you can sign up through this form here.
4. Educate yourself
To understand and change the present, we must reflect on and acknowledge the past, and educating ourselves on the history of racism against Asian people in America can help us come to the issues in a more well-rounded fashion and inform our actions today. Research the history of the model minority myth, the 1871 Chinese massacre, the 1886 hearing of Yick Wo vs. Hopkins, and others. Find informative articles here and here.
5. Stand up to discrimination
Of course, one of the most tangible things we can do is to stand up against discrimination when we witness it, whether it be blatant acts or casual offensive comments. If you do witness an act of hate, it is important to report it. Philadelphia’s Commission on Human Relations has created a guide on how to report and file discrimination complaints. You can also report an AAPI hate incident through Stop AAPI Hate also has created its own reporting database of hateful incidents against Asian-Americans.
See also: 10 Wonderful Women-Owned Restaurants To Try In Philadelphia Right Now
Featured image: @Patrick T. FALLON / AFP]