At a time when minorities in the US are experiencing an unprecedented rise in hate-fueled crimes, a nonprofit group is aiming to provide a voice.
“We cannot stay silent when our communities become victims of hate speech or harassment.” AAAJ president and executive director Mee Moua said in a press statement.
The group took action after seeing a spike of violent hate crimes towards Chinese and Asian-Americans in different parts of the United States.
Stewart Kwoh of AAAJ – Los Angeles added that the group is aiming to call attention the growing violence against Asian-Americans.
“While hate crimes and incidents have surged to the top of news coverage leading up to and following the November 8th election, attacks against AAPIs have received little attention,” he said.
The sudden spike in violence against Asians may have been ignited by President Donald Trump’s constant portrayal of China as the “economic enemy” of the USA, according to Karin Wang, AAAJ-Los Angeles Vice President of Programs and Communications.
Hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans, a great majority of which being anti-Chinese, has tripled from six to 18 in Los Angeles County in 2015, according to a report released by the county’s Commission on Human Relations.
In 2015, Trump said that, “ISIS, China, Mexico are all beating us.” He then posed a question asking when the U.S. had beaten China and Japan in trade. He also brought up that China is “exponentially expanding its military power.”
Trump would continue to repeatedly refer to China as a “threat” throughout the duration of his campaign.
Wang told the Huffington Post that Trump’s rhetoric “reinforces the dangerous foreign enemy image, even though he describes China’s threat as one of trade.”
This is eerily similar to the anti-Japanese sentiment during the 1970s and 1980s, when Japan was portrayed as a threat to the auto industry. This was the premise that lead to the murder of Vincent Chin in 1982, a Chinese-American who got into a confrontation with white auto workers after they mistook him for Japanese.
Aside from tracking the hate-crimes, the website also offers legal advice and features survivors’ stories.
“The reality is people, at some point, become numb to numbers,” Wang was quoted as saying. “But they respond to the news and they respond to stories.”
Through the website, the group is urging persons of all backgrounds to report hate crimes of any nature. The group welcomes complaints affecting cultural identity, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.