When news broke in March of this year that a white gunman had murdered eight in a shooting spree in Atlanta, with six of the victims identified as Asian women, the world gathered in collective mourning. The news was tragic and served only to highlight what has been a year of escalating violent racist attacks against Asians around the world. Across the US, countless incidences have been documented describing discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, while even on our home soil it appears the Asian community continues to face racism, with a number of the verbal and physical attacks having increased since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Following the rise of Covid-19-related racism in Australia, the Asian Australian Alliance (AAA) and GoFundMe have partnered to create the #StopAsianHate Australia campaign, an initiative that calls for an end to the silent pandemic of racism directed towards Asians and Asian Australians.
The launch of the campaign comes after new data from the AAA reveals 540 incidents of COVID racism have been reported since lockdowns began in 2020, yet many believe the true scale of the issue is far greater with close to 90 per cent of these incidents going unreported to authorities. The report found that racism is a regular daily occurrence in Australia, with 37 per cent stating they experienced racism on a public street, sidewalk or at the supermarket. Of the reported incidents, 22 per cent said the perpetrator made the racial slur as a joke, while 16 per cent cited verbal threats, 13 per cent were spat and/or sneezed at, and 12 per cent were victims of physical intimidation.
As a result, the AAA is urgently calling Australians to report incidents of racism to reveal the full extent of the issue and for immediate action to stamp out racism through legal support, advocacy work, and campaigning efforts to strengthen anti-racism laws and protections. Remy Hii, star of Crazy Rich Asians, recently took to social media to express his solidarity and support for the movement. In a post, he wrote: “I saw the man cracking his bullwhip outside the Chinese embassy in Redfern. I saw the two girls in Marrickville get spat on and told to eat bats. I saw the pregnant moth in the doctor’s clinic in Perth told to go back to her own country - and I was so angry.”
He added, “I was scared for my family and friends. I shared those stories because we can’t stop what we can’t see, and right now we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.”
Without question, the responsibility to call out racism extends to all of us as a responsibility. To protect those who are so valued within this community, we must call out such incidents as a matter of urgency. It’s why GoFundMe has launched a central hub for those looking for educational resources, to report racism or hate crimes, or support the movement.
As Erin Wen Ai Chew, co-founder at the AAA, explains, “With the current spate of racist incidents coming out of the Covid-19 and more recently out of the Indian Travel Ban, it is more than ever important that we speak up on the inequality and the racism in Australia against Asian/Asian Australians. There is a lot of hate out there, and Asian/Asian Australians no longer feel safe in Australia, so it’s time we challenge this hate with education and awareness by speaking loud and clear.”
Most importantly, “As Asian/Asian Australians, it is important that we do not remain silent on issues around racism. We want all Asian/Asian Australians to know that your voice matters, you matter and you are not alone.”
For more information and to support the cause, visit the GoFundMe page here.