The rise of attacks on the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community has been heartbreaking and egregious. WhereTraveler believes we should use this platform to support our fellow Americans and present multiple options to aid the AAPI community right now. Here are some ways you can stand in solidarity.
There are lots of organizations that are mobilizing to help the AAPI community across the country. Stop AAPI Hate compiles lists of hate crimes committed throughout the U.S., supports the victims and their families, and advocates for social justice and reform. Asian Americans Advancing Justice (with a national chapter and smaller, city chapters around the country) fights for civil rights and helps lift the community through education, public policy advocacy, and litigation. AAPI Women Lead has initiated the #ImReady Movement focused on empowering AAPI women to pursue political careers or other leading roles in business, technology, and education. The group works closely with other BIPOC organizations encouraging women to go after positions of power. Don’t forget about mental health initiatives! With the pandemic and the rise of xenophobia surrounding AAPI communities, the Asian Mental Health Collective is a worthy cause to support. The collective works to destigmatize mental health support and break down cultural barriers. It aspires to make mental health easily available and normalize seeking help. You can also donate directly to the families of the victims of the Atlanta shooting.
Support AAPI-Owned Businesses
There are plenty of AAPI-owned businesses across every imaginable market to support. In the food sector, Omsom, founded by two sisters who are the daughters of Vietnamese refugees, helps you discover the robust flavors of Asian cuisine at home. Omsom provides recipes, sauces, aromatics, and seasonings to help home cooks make delicious staples like Korean bulgogi, Thai larb, and Vietnamese lemongrass BBQ. Nguyen Coffee Supply will help jumpstart your day with a jolt of caffeine. Try the Vietnamese coffee trio and get the Moxy (sweet, smooth, and bright), Truegrit (the highest caffeine content at nearly double that of arabica), and Loyalty (the bestseller). It’s owned by the first ever Vietnamese-American importer of green coffee beans from Vietnam. You can even wear your support for the AAPI community by buying from AAPI-owned fashion and beauty brands. Grey State Apparel makes sustainable, ethical women’s clothing for all seasons. The comfy, closet staples are intended to make women’s lives easier and more comfortable. Bee Shapiro, long-time beauty correspondent for the New York Times, has launched Ellis Brooklyn. The clean fragrance collections include fresh and floral, musky, woody, and gourmand options. There are also home fragrance options in scented candle and diffuser forms.
Arguably the best way to support the AAPI community is for all of us to be better. We need to educate ourselves and really listen to their needs, fears, desires, and wishes. There are many books that tackle these hard truths and they are a fantastic way to start your journey of support. Frank H. Wu’s book Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White examines how race relations are changing and evolving in the 21st century. He discusses damaging Asian stereotypes, affirmative action, globalization, and immigration. The comprehensive The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee chronicles Asian history in America and the contributions of the AAPI community. The history is rich, complicated, and a worthwhile read for every American. If you’re not much of a reader, the podcast Self Evident: Asian America’s Stories is in its second season. Each in-depth story comes from a community within the Asian diaspora and contemplates what it means to claim America as an AAPI person. It brings Asian voices from every gender, age group, and social class to the national arena.