Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there’s been an overwhelming number of reports of violent hate crimes against the Asian community across North America. From verbal attacks at a bus stop or a parking lot, being deliberately coughed or spat on, to having acid poured on them, this public health crisis has caused a drastic increase in human rights violations.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to conduct a questionnaire on the spike of xenophobia during the COVID-19 pandemic. I distributed it to my friends who all have a personal connection to someone in the Asian community. I wanted to hear their opinion on the attacks and if they had any messages of support for this community that is currently going through difficult times. Here are some of their responses.
“I know my words will never make up for what you are going through but remember you have allies like me out there. There are still people who support and love you. You will not fight this alone. I am so sorry this is happening. There is no need to hate someone just because of their race.”
“Though fear is mostly what drives hate, what is happening is unnecessary. Please stay strong, you have allies, and you are not alone.”
“If we live in fear, we sacrifice happiness. If we give up our voices, we strip away what makes us unique.”
“I know it sucks to be treated as a second-class citizen in a place you consider home. But please be safe. You never know what kind of psychopath is planning something sinister because of the color of your skin. Try your best to stay in groups and not be alone. Most hate incidents take place when people are alone in secluded areas and then they become a target.”
”Do not show any fear and do not let anyone put you down in any way, shape, or form. These hate crimes need to be closely monitored by law enforcement. What is happening to you is totally wrong and not necessary in the slightest.”
“I’m sorry that people have become so divided during times when we should all be united. Know that there are people in this world working to educate those who have turned to racism and praying for the safety of the Asian community throughout this pandemic. Blaming innocent people for the pandemic is absolutely ridiculous. It’s completely unfair to attack a group of people over a virus that they are not at fault for.”
“Know that those of us with a heart are here in solidarity with you. And what these attackers are doing to you is ignorant in every possible way.”
“Continue to be strong and brave. I think what’s happening is wrong and nobody should be treated this way.”
“Even though there are those who want to cause you harm, there are many more of us who are by your side and will fight this battle alongside you. You are not alone. All the races of the world must come together and beat the plague of racism. Just like the violence and harassment against other races, it needs to stop now.”
“I would like to offer my support in any way I can. I’d like them to know that I’m here to help anyone and everyone who needs it. We’re all in this together and need to spread compassion rather than fear during this time. We all need to band together during this time, and blaming those who are not individually responsible doesn’t help anything. We need to take care of and support each other, as it isn’t fair to discriminate against Asians for this crisis we are in.”
If you or anyone you know has fallen victim to any race-related violence or harassment during the pandemic, please do not hesitate to report your incident to Stop AAPI Hate. There are also interactive harassment and bystander prevention training with grassroots initiative Hollaback!. What’s more, you can even choose from a selection of resources such as podcasts or links to TED talks combating racism with human rights non-profit organization Act to Change.
As we all continue to fight against COVID-19, we all need to unite now more than ever. The statements above display the utmost solidarity amidst on-going recurrences of opposition. If you or someone you know is experiencing fear or anxiety due to the continued attacks on Asian communities, I hope you know there are still people who are looking out for you — as you are never truly alone.
Photo via Unsplash