AAF Unveils Emergency Campaign to Ensure Immediate Safety for Asian New Yorkers
New York:____ The Asian American Federation (AAF) unveils its Hope Against Hate Campaign, a landmark and progressive solution to respond to and stop attacks on vulnerable Asian New Yorkers.
Since January 2020, Asian New Yorkers have been scapegoated as the reason for COVID-19. In recent days and months, a string of violent attacks has left the Asian community reeling and its members afraid to ride the subway, send their children to school, and even step outside.
The violence that the Asian American community is facing needs to be met with strong investment from Federal, State, and City leaders, as well as leaders of corporations and philanthropy, to ensure immediate street safety for New York City’s 1.3 million Asian Americans.
AAF is seeking $30 million for our Hope Against Hate Campaign to establish a safety ambassador program, set up in-language victim support services, and provide upstander and self-defense trainings, among other safety solutions. Emergency funding is absolutely critical because the level of anti-Asian hate is the highest it has been historically – with no end in sight.
“Our community is struggling from the strain of hate crimes and bias attacks taking place in our city against our community. It’s time to move past the statements of solidarity and make bold moves. We need emergency investments and financial support to put programs in place so that our community – and all communities – feel safe in our own city. The time for hope and prayers is long past. We need action, and we need it now,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation.
The Hope Against Hate Campaign will:
Establish safety ambassador programs in Asian-majority neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens;
Set up in-language victim support services, including an assistance fund to help with assault-related expenses and mental health support; and
Provide upstander, verbal de-escalation, and physical self-defense trainings in multiple languages.
Since January 2020, AAF has led the charge to advocate for a stronger response to the surge in anti-Asian violence, which has reached 3,800 incidents nationally and over 1,100 incidents in New York City alone – the city with the greatest number of assaults in the U.S. These figures are a fraction of the actual number of incidents – capturing only 10-30% of all incidents – due to drastic under-reporting as a result of multiple barriers the community faces, including language access.
AAF’S RESPONSE SO FAR: As an organization with a 31-year history of protecting and advancing justice, well-being, and opportunity for New York’s Asian American community, AAF was the first to create in-language resources in 2020 to document the level of attacks targeting Asian Americans through a reporting site and to equip the most vulnerable with strategies to keep themselves safe. AAF provided a range of safety resources in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese, offering upstander, verbal de-escalation, and physical self-defense trainings, and creating safety booklets and safety videos that were distributed to tens of thousands of Asian New Yorkers to equip them with the strategies to keep themselves safe.
The next urgent step to this work is AAF’s Hope Against Hate Campaign.
Download the PDF of the Hope Against Hate Campaign here.
“The story of the Asian American community is a quintessentially American story. It’s a story of coming to this country, building strong communities, opening local businesses, churches, and civic organizations, and slowly gaining political representation in spite of the odds. We cannot allow this rising tide of bigotry, intolerance, and prejudice against our fellow Asian-American citizens to go unchecked. In a multicultural society like ours, an attack on any one group is an attack on everyone. Every one of us has an obligation to speak out against these hate crimes and to do all we can to eliminate them and the intolerance that is its fuel. And in the Senate, we have a responsibility to do more than just speak out: we will take action by bringing the Rep. Grace Meng/Sen. Mazie Hirono Anti-Asian Hate Crime Bill forward in the Senate,” said United States Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer.
“The events of January 6, the attack in Atlanta, the near-daily reports of anti-Semitic graffiti, and the continued rise of attacks against Asian Americans throughout the pandemic should be a wakeup call to the urgent need to tackle domestic violent extremism in this country. We all have a responsibility to step up and loudly condemn violence against Asian Americans — and the bigoted language which fuels it,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I am proud to join the Asian American Federation and the AAPI community in combating and condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment. Congress must take steps to remove dangers and take the necessary steps to keep Americans safe.”
“These egregious displays of hatred and violence against the AAPI community has no place in our community. No one should live in fear for their lives, experience economic hardships, and witness community members suffer from targeted violence because of their nationality. Full stop,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. “Our communities are made stronger by our diversity. As a nation, we must condemn acts of hatred and racial prejudice wherever they occur, and this campaign is a firm step in the right direction. To the members of the AAPI community, I hear you; I’ve got your back. Together we will overcome this dark time and move forward into a future where our diversity is celebrated.”
“Across the nation, Asian Americans are facing ever-increasing bigotry and horrific violence. In New York City, we have seen months of escalating attacks against Asian Americans – the most recent, an assault of a 65-year-old woman as bystanders looked on. We cannot be passive – we need to stand up and take meaningful action to combat bigotry. The Hope Against Hate Campaign is a critical tool to be funded and implemented in this moment to prevent future tragedy,” said Jumaane Williams, NYC Public Advocate.
“It is important for everyone to educate ourselves on how to help a victim of a crime, not only Asian Americans. There should be an awareness on how to document the event, either by video or just taking notes of the details so that the witness would be able to describe the suspect or relay what transpired during the incident,” said attack survivor Noel Quintana.
“For more than forty years, Asian Americans for Equality has been fighting to make New York City a place where everyone can build community and thrive. The rise in anti-Asian hate and wanton violence against our community present an existential threat to that goal. That’s why the Hope Against Hate Campaign is so critical; the solution lies in reinforcing existing community-based efforts and empowering all New Yorkers to be the neighbors our community needs,” said Thomas Yu, Co-Executive Director of Asian Americans for Equality
“Anti-Asian hate crimes are continuing to isolate our community members from their own neighborhoods and their fellow New Yorkers. While the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association continues to work to make sure our most vulnerable populations have their needs met and are as integrated into our community as possible, anti-Asian violence continues to terrorize and traumatize, said Paul Mak, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association. “The Hope Against Hate Campaign validates the importance of community-centered solutions, centers the work already being done, and reimagines how hate is addressed in our community and beyond. Fully funding this campaign is critical such that the Asian American Federation, Brooklyn Chinese-American Association, and our partners can accelerate and expand the work being done to make our community members feel safe once again.”
“The onslaught of recent hate crimes against our pan-Asian brothers and sisters is utterly heartbreaking. As Latinos, we know what it is like to be discriminated against and treated with suspicion, contempt, and violence. Their pain is our pain. Any attack on them is an attack on all of us. Hispanic Federation joins the Asian American Federation in calling for the support of the Hope Against Hate Campaign to ensure that swift, tangible, and proportionate action is taken against ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes,” said Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of Hispanic Federation.
“Let’s be clear, our community deserves to feel safe in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces, and anywhere in the City we call home,” said Myoungmi Kim, Interim Executive Director at Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York. “An attack against one of us is an attack on all of us, and we unequivocally condemn the rising anti-Asian violence that has created so much fear amongst our most vulnerable and their families. The Hope Against Hate Campaign is exactly what the moment calls for. Its focus on reinforcing our community and supporting community-based organizations who are already doing the work of protecting and empowering our community members, like Korean Community Services, is exactly what can lead to a sustained victory over hate.”
“Every New Yorker deserves to move freely in our streets without fear of harassment or violence because of the way they look or the language they speak,” said Murad Awawdeh, Interim Co-Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “The disturbing rise in hate crimes against our Asian American and Pacific Island (AAPI) communities requires all of us and every branch of government to step up and protect our neighbors. The Hope Against Hate Campaign provides the solutions we need to support each other, track these crimes, and assist victims. No one should ever feel unsafe on our streets. We will continue to stand united with our AAPI brothers and sisters in condemning hate and discrimination whenever and wherever we see it.”