New York follows California example to Stop Asian Hate

By Gilda Balan, Correspondent

NEW YORK – What the state of California began by officially moving to put an end to the growing violence against Asians and Asian Americans, New York state has now followed suit.

The two states, one in the West Coast and the other in the East Coast, are home to the largest communities of Asian immigrants, Filipinos included.

New York recently approved funding to help state officials in reporting, and hopefully preventing, the continuously growing discrimination and hate crimes faced by Asian Americans, with some going so far as resorting to physical attacks against senior citizens.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance will provide funds to create grants to help community groups in New York City educate residents about Asian American culture.

The growing culture of hate has been blamed on former President Donald Trump who dubbed COVID-19 as the “China virus.” New York was among the worst hit by the pandemic and NYC was for a time ground zero for the airborne disease, having more cases – and deaths – than anywhere in the world.

At the forefront of the Asian community’s battle against the hate crimes is Kalayaan Mendoza, director of mutual protection for the non-government organization Nonviolent Peaceforce.

According to Mendoza, “We haven’t had a chance to pause. We haven’t had a chance to heal. I think we are constantly put into a state of hypervigilance.”

There needs, he said, “dedicated spaces, for us and our communities to be able to recognize the trauma that we’ve experienced.”

If there is one positive thing about the hate crimes aimed at Chinese and Chinese-Americans, it’s that the attackers do not recognize one Asian ethnicity from the other.

For the tiny but dangerous fraction who spew hate against people of a different ethnicity than them, all Chinese are Asians and all Asians are Chinese.

This has led the various ethnic groups that form the broad Asian American community to be united against the hatemongers.

On the state level, Mendoza said he would like to see the problem dealt with as a public health issue, with more resources for developing holistic public safety practices for the Asian American community.

On a federal level, he said Nonviolent Peaceforce seeks to see greater cooperation between local and national advocacy groups, and more dialogue on how to keep people safe.

Until the general public is able to recognize the root causes of racism, not enough changes will take place, said Mendoza.

Last year, Congress passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to hasten the review of hate crimes and hate crime reports. According to Stop AAPI Hate, more than 11,000 hate crimes have been reported in the last two years, with a notable portion taking place in New York and California.

The Golden State funded the StopAsian Hate campaign which has tapped the support of a broad coalition of stakeholders, including print and broadcast media, Philippine News Today included.