May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) month where we recognize the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacifica Islander Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States.
I do appreciate efforts to recognize the contributions and influence of people from all heritages. I’m pleased to see more education in recognizing AAPI contributions to the Arts, Science and Politics. Growing up as a Chinese immigrant in San Francisco in the 70’s the only AAPIs I can recall in media was Bruce Lee and some of the cast on Hawaii Five-O.
Steps in the right direction no doubt.
Along with raising awareness of the contributions of AAPIs this month, I want to raise awareness about the increase in anti-Asian harassment. This is not an easy topic for me to write on because it affects me personally. My mom is 85 years old as a survivor of wars and poverty. She is stubborn as an ox and deserves her freedom to ride Muni to shop in the Outer Sunset and Chinatown safely.
The statistics on anti-Asian hate incidents are astounding!
- Verbal harassment up 63%
- Reported hate incidents affect the AAPI community with 42.8% Chinese American, 16.1% Korean, 8.9% P/Flippin, 8.2% Japanese and 8.0% Vietnamese Americans.
What’s even more astounding is that almost half occur in a public place.
We’ve all witnessed acts of harassment in public places. That uncomfortable feeling of being a witness, the uncertainty of what to do and the fear of being the next target.
The problem is that a vast majority of the harassment may not be considered a criminal act therefore added policing is not an effective solution. Investing in our community to recognize harassment and implementing ways to de-escalate the situation is a better option. There are programs offered in our communities that will help us called “Bystander Training.” These programs are offered online and in person. They teach us the “Five D’s” as part of the training:
- Direct = directly intervening in the situation
- Delegate= assessing your surroundings to find others to support you
- Distract = distracting the harasser or person being harassed away from harm
- Delay = checking in with the person being harassed to let them know you are present to offer support
- Document = safely capturing information about the incident to support the victim
Along with raising awareness of the accomplishments of AAPI in society this month, I really hope people will pay attention to the increase in anti-Asian harassment. My hope is that awareness will inspire us all to learn more about this problem.
I am grateful that Grace Cathedral will be offering Bystander Training on May 18 from 2-4:30 pm delivered in person by Andre Selvage and Associates, experienced trainers in this area. All Grace Cathedral staff and clergy are required to attend this program. We are also offering this program to our congregation community. Space is limited. Reserve now.
It is through awareness and education that we find ways to put an end to this.