For Asian Americans across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic brought an added burden: a significant increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. Following the recent horrific murders in Atlanta, a long overdue call for support for the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) community in the United States has been made loud and clear. Discrimination and violence against this community are not new, they are an ongoing problem that has been silenced for far too long.
What can you do about it? Mayor Hancock recently spoken about the fact that violence and discrimination against Asian Americans increased in Denver last year. This is not a problem our city is immune to. Here are some ways you can show your support from the local to the national level.
Start by accessing resources designed to educate and inform. The YouTube series #AsianAmCovidStories examines the effects of COVID-19 on AAPI people and provides a firsthand insight into their experiences. You can also read more firsthand stories about discrimination and hate crimes through the community Asian Americans promote justice‘s Stand against hatred Platform.
You can also arm yourself with knowledge of how to intervene when you see anti-Asian hatred in action. Hollaback! and Asian Americans promote justice have teamed up to provide free online audience intervention and de-escalation training that includes tools for intervention, as well as education about the types of anti-Asian behavior the community faces, from micro-aggression to violence.
Make donations to nonprofits and support community efforts
The popular restaurant of restaurateur Tommy Lee Hop Alley is named for the area that was once Chinatown in Denver. Once a thriving part of the city, in the 1880s a racist mob violently attacked the neighborhood, killing one person and leaving the community never to fully recover. Now Lee has teamed up with 100 other AAPI restaurants around the country to raise awareness and raise funds for the restaurant AAPI Community Fund through the Sale of t-shirts. All sales proceeds go directly to the fund.
The Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC) was founded in 1980 and is located in Aurora. They work to provide Colorado’s Asian American and Pacific Islander residents with a variety of services, including victim support such as financial services, emergency shelter, crisis counseling, and more. You can donate online and they also have several Volunteer opportunities.
At the national level Stop AAPI hatred was founded in March 2020 in response to increasing violence. The Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University have partnered to provide a resource on reporting anti-Asian hate incidents that can be properly tracked and responded to. You can donate easily directly online to support your mission.
Keep AAPI-owned companies alive
Restaurants have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, with initial closings, ever-changing regulations, and lack of government support. And even before all Denver restaurants closed in March 2020, Asian-owned restaurants had already started at Mile High see a drop in sales through February over concerns over COVID-19’s relationship with China.
While the culinary scene saw many restaurant closings over the past year, many others have, and many of them are owned by AAPI. To like Lao Wang noodle houseHere, husband and wife owners Chung-Ming and Tse-Ming Wang, who are now in their eighties, continue to cook and serve soup dumplings and potstickers (currently only available online to keep owners healthy and safe).
Nearby, Star cuisine is again open to his popular dim sum personally. Over in Aurora go to Uncle Zoe for their flaky, hearty Chinese-style cakes. If you’re really in the mood for a feast, check out Chef / Owner Joseph Kim’s Dae GeeThe company now has five locations in and around Denver, with a sixth coming soon to Aurora. Then there is Ramen Favorite Pho 95, banh mi at Vinh Xuong Bakery, khao soi bei Daughter Thaiand the list goes on and on. Federal Boulevard and Aurora both have high densities of Asian-American owned restaurants. So explore as soon as possible.
In addition to restaurants, Denver is home to many other AAPI companies. Show your support for this community with your wallet by visiting places like Base coat, Denver’s first non-toxic Denver nail salon, which owner Tran Wills launched in 2013. Or one of the many Asian markets in Denver, Pike Pacific Mercantile Company which celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2020 Asian Chamber of Commerce Additional resources for Denver-owned companies owned by AAPI.
Report everything you see
We’ve heard it before, but when you see something, it’s important to say something. And thanks to organizations like Stop hating AAPIIt only takes a few minutes to report anti-Asian hatred incidents that you may witness. You also have the option to come forward on someone else’s behalf if you know someone who cannot do this on their own.Molly Martin is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @mollydbu on Instagram and Twitter for more information on food, fun and life on Mile High.