4 Things You Can Do to Help Combat Violence Against Asian Americans

Advice for allies of all races and backgrounds

Given the massacre in Atlanta this week, during a time of escalating violence against Asian Americans, people of all backgrounds are once again wondering how to help. We’re upset and we’re horrified. Sharing posts on social platforms is easy, and to be clear, elevating Asian American voices is an important thing for everyone to do right now — but dismantling white supremacy takes more than a retweet here and there.

Here are four things you can do right now to help in a meaningful way:

Help spread the right message

Medium’s Yasmin Tayag interviewed San Francisco State University sociologist Russell Jeung for the Coronavirus Blog. He noted that words really do matter, and urged organizations, churches, and institutions to release statements calling for racial justice, solidarity, and respect. He says that connecting with your community makes a difference: It’s important “to stand up and to go outside and to be neighbors to each other, to be out…having neighbors look out for neighbors.”

Act with your wallet

Last spring, sociologist Holiday Phillips wrote for Forge about the performative allyship that swept the internet in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and other Black people. She noted that hashtags don’t quite count as activism. Phillips shares lots of more active ideas for would-be allies, including maximizing your power as a consumer: “This, I believe, is the greatest thing you as a white person can do to support BIPOC. If you are disgusted by the centuries of state-sponsored theft from black, Asian, and indigenous people’s lands, then support BIPOC-owned businesses. Initiate your own program of reparations by actively looking for products and services you use regularly and finding alternatives created by BIPOC.”

Educate yourself

The poet Caitlin Ju writes for ZORA: “I have always wanted to be better informed as a social activist, especially about issues facing Asian Americans. Asian American history is rarely taught in American K-12 classrooms… I also want to learn more to be a better ally. There is so much intersectionality in social activism, and as a woman of color, I know there is more I need to know before participating in conversations with other people of color.” Here’s Ju’s reading list for the Asian American activist:

Stay connected to the right people

Forge’s resident therapist Kathleen Smith shared some helpful advice last year about how to stay focused on doing the important work even when you get overwhelmed by the news cycle:

It’s nearly impossible to stay engaged with hard problems and to make a meaningful difference if you’re not connected to others who are doing the same work. (Working alone also ignores the fact that there are people who have been actively trying to solve these problems for years or decades, so take the time to understand the landscape you’re working in — the organizers, activists, and grassroots groups — and give those people and organizations your support.)

Remember, if you feel threatened or triggered by the violence in the news, it’s okay to step back and take a rest. And if you’re a White person who’s unsure of how to respond, don’t let perfectionism or fear keep you from engaging.

Content Lead for Writing @ Medium // Editor of Human Parts // Novels: Unseen City; The Mermaid of Brooklyn; How Far Is The Ocean From Here

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store