By Camila Olave-Rodriguez

There has been an increase in Anti-Asian motivated crimes since COVID-19 started. The pandemic has fueled existing Xenophobia, Sinophobia, and yellow peril in the country. I was made aware of this through Asian influencers on Instagram. There was no major news coverage of this until Asians themselves were reporting from their own platforms asking to amplify their voices. I wasn’t sure I could do much or if I wanted to do what I had done before – posting on my stories for 24 hours as the bare minimum.

I pondered with those feelings for a couple of days. There is a lot of privilege in staying silent. There is also a lot of cultural implications for speaking up as a person of color, especially when it’s someone else’s problem. These are uncomfortable and difficult conversations to have. It feels like you are yelling into the void. You might even feel like what you are doing is unproductive or meaningless. I took a break from social media toward the end of 2020 because of this. Only to find there was still work to do and some more to come.

Asian and Pacific Islander statistics are underreported and understudied. Asians are the Model Minority Myth and we are perpetrating White Supremacy when we feed into those narratives. Asian and Pacific Islanders are a diverse group of individuals and treating them as a monolith further erases their experiences. Advocacy requires action and I need you to create safe communities for Asian and Black folk along with me. Just being aware of your privilege isn’t enough. I invite you to wield your power and protect the people in your community that are at risk.

If you are unsure of how to speak about these attacks with your family and friends, you can start with this:

  • I do not condone violence against Asians from my community and any community. It is wrong
  • I will not accept any excuse for that violence around me and in any of my spaces, physical or online
  • If I see it, I will interrupt it however I can
  • We have the power to stop the harm our community is causing
  • We have unpacking to do of the Anti-Asian mindset that sits in our community and can/has resulted in the loss of life.

We cannot stay silent in the face of hate and systemic racism. The Asian and Pacific Islander community are part of our Anti-Racism work. Here are some things you can do to about this issue:

Here are some resources you can share with your Asian and Pacific Islander friends and family to mentally and emotionally support them during this time:

Racial Trauma Toolkit:

APISAA Therapist Directory:

On Facebook, @subtleasianmentalhealth is offering 1:1 Supportive Listening Sessions

@laichientheraphy is offering pay-as-you-wish group therapy

Follow @asianmentalhealthcollective

Follow @asiansformentalhealth

About the Author

Camila is a native Colombian living in the Valley. Currently, she is completing her BA in Public Service and Public Policy at ASU. Some of the social causes she is passionate about are equity, food and land sovereignty, and the disenfranchisement of Native, Black, Asian folks.