Lifestyle

How to Support the Asian-American Community in NYC

AAPI organizations, small businesses, and recent victims of anti-Asian attacks are in need of our help.

“I called for help but nobody came,” says Noel Quintana, a Filipino-American New Yorker recounts just moments after being slashed in the face in an unprovoked attack on the subway last month. “I never knew that nobody would help.”

Quintana’s words are a sentiment held by many AAPI New Yorkers since the onset of COVID-19 early last year. During an already turbulent and painful year, the AAPI community in NYC has especially been on edge and concerned for their safety, with a continued string of violent attacks towards some of its most vulnerable residents making headlines from as early as February of 2020. Yet, whether it was an 89-year old woman set on fire in Brooklyn or a man stabbed in the back while walking in Chinatown, hate crime charges have been rare, leaving the AAPI community feeling mostly disregarded during an exceptionally traumatic time. And after this week’s tragedy in Atlanta—that left 8 people murdered, and 6 of them Asian women—the incident made national news and has since mobilized more people to advocate for stopping anti-Asian hate crimes.

With women 2.3 times more likely to be discriminated against, from March of 2020 until this February, STOP AAPI HATE reported 3,795 hate crimes against Asian Americans nationwide (many incidents in the AAPI community go unreported to authorities, but victims can report directly to STOP AAPI HATE here). In 2020 alone, NYC experienced the largest increase across the country at 833%. Due in part to the previous presidential administration’s racist and dangerous rhetoric that made Asian Americans scapegoats for the pandemic, AAPI New Yorkers have been violently attacked, harassed, spat on, and stigmatized, with some AAPI-owned businesses vandalized and most simply struggling to stay afloat.

After a year of AAPI New Yorkers advocating for themselves and pleading for help, the community is in need of our help more than ever. Currently, 1.3 million AAPI New Yorkers make up 15% of the city’s population—here are just a few ways to support them.

If You See Something, Film It

On the morning Noel Quintana had his face slashed on the subway, not only did no one offer help, but not a single person filmed the attack. If you see something going down and don’t feel comfortable stepping in to offer aid, recording with your smartphone helps in documenting the incident and possibly aiding in the prosecution of assailants. Currently, no arrests have been made in Quintana’s case. Donations can be made to his GoFundMe.

Donate Directly to Other Victims of Anti-Asian Violence

On March 1, truck driver Chak Keung Chan was violently attacked after arriving at a Syracuse Chinese restaurant from NYC for a routine delivery. His body was discovered unconscious with frostbite under his truck the next day, and Chen has been hospitalized since. Donations can be made to his GoFundMe. And on February 26, good samaritan Yong Zheng was killed in Brooklyn after trying to stop a robbery on the street. He leaves behind a wife and two kids, and donations can be made to his GoFundMe

Support the Elderly

Founded by life partners Yin Chang and Moonlynn Tsai, Heart of Dinner helps Asian-American seniors fight food insecurity by delivering hot meals and fresh produce with handwritten letters to elders in Lower Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. And with many afraid to leave their homes due to safety concerns, this GoFundMe raises money to purchase personal alarms for seniors and restaurant workers in Chinatown to protect themselves.

Champion AAPI Women

For 37 years, Womankind has helped Asian women survivors of domestic abuse, human trafficking, and sexual violence. In more than 18+ Asian languages and dialects, the organization works to offer “refuge, recovery, and renewal to survivors of trauma.” And at Sakhi for South Asian Women, all programming is directed towards South Asian women who are survivors of violence.

Donate or Volunteer to These Helpful Orgs

Mekong NYC helps the Southeast Asian community of the Bronx and all other boroughs; Asian Americans for Equality focuses on community development through affordable housing and financial support; The Korean Community Services of Metropolitan NY offers a range of programming including adult day care, senior job training, and immigrant assistance; The India Center fosters engagement with the Indian-American community and launched the South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund to aid workers and artists affected during the pandemic; the APICHA Community Health Center is dedicated to LGBTQ and underserved AAPI residents; the Sikh Coalition was founded in response to 9/11 to protect the civil rights of Sikh Americans; the CAAV empowers low-income Asian immigrant and refugee communities; the Coalition for Asian-American Children and Families advocates for NYC- based pan-Asian children and families; the South Asian Council for Social Services assists with healthcare access, food insecurity, and more in up to 12 different languages; Think!Chinatown promotes community engagement through storytelling and art; and Welcome to Chinatown is a grassroots initiative supporting small businesses devastated by the pandemic.

Eat at AAPI Restaurants and Eateries

At an anti-Asian rally in NYC last month, a demonstrator held up a sign that read: “Love our people like you love our food.” With no shortage of Asian restaurants and eateries in NYC to choose from, show up with an appetite in Chinatown, or enjoy some of the city’s best Filipino and Indian spots.

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Tae Yoon was born and raised in Queens, and is the Editor of Thrillist New York.
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