SAN DIEGO — Asian Americans in California and across the country are calling for action in the wake of attacks on their community. Disturbing videos of recent attacks in Oakland’s Chinatown have reignited concerns about violence against Americans.
But many in the community say the situation has been worsening for months and believe many hate crimes verbal and physical go unreported.
“A lot of them are either afraid to report it or don't feel that they want to report it because they don't want that spotlight,” said Erin Chew, member of the San Diego API (Asian Pacific Islander) Coalition.
Chew is also the founder for the Asian Australian Alliance and collaborating with the global efforts of STOP AAPI Hate report launch.
The group started collecting data on March 19, 2020 and says from then to December 31, 2020 there were 2,808 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states and the District of Columbia.
Many believe the increase came from former President Trump’s rhetorical calling COVID-19 the “China Virus.”
Verbal harassment made up 70 percent of the cases. Chew said that last May she felt verbally attacked by a couple while in the parking lot of the San Marcos Costco.
“They kind of just looked at me and then the husband pretty much said, ‘I hate wearing my mask everywhere. And, you know, we just need to blame China for this for this virus,’ and was just staring at me as though it was my fault,” said Chew.
Celebrities have been outspoken and raising awareness about the attacks.
There is not an exact number of Asian hate crimes in San Diego as police say they do not track it. Last spring, an SDSU Filipino group’s Zoom was bombed with racial slurs. A San Diegan was charged with a hate crime for allegedly using a cane to attack a man he thought was from China.
Kent Lee, San Diego API Co-Chair, says even the STOP HATE AAPI report doesn’t have an aggregate number of cases for San Diego.
“I think there's still a lot of work to be done in terms of actually getting data at this local level,” said Lee.
Last May, the city passed a resolution denouncing hate and Xenophobia; while the county has declared racism a public health crisis.
Still, Kent says more collaboration needs to be done to build a stronger community. “I think without that kind of data and reporting, it's too easy for this to just go unnoticed and to be invisible,” said Lee.
You can also support by shopping, dining or ordering take out as Asian owned businesses.
The San Diego API Coalition encourages people to call out incidents when you see them and encourage people to report.
If you are victim of harassment, discrimination or violence, report it first to police, you can also report it to STOP HATE AAPI.