Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month; UNF ASIA speaks on the rise of Asian-American hate crimes

Darvin Nelson, Editor-in-Chief

The month of May celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage. UNF’s Asian Students in Alliance (ASIA) believes that this year’s AAPI month has been successful and a true reflection of progress and justice within the community. 

“We as an organization have been working to push for increased awareness and appreciation for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. It has been beautiful seeing everyone’s tributes and celebrations of the AAPI history,” says Shekinah Mitchell, the Student Alliance for Inclusion and Diversity (SAID) Ambassador on behalf of the Asian alliance.

Image from asianpacificheritage.gov.

There are many ways in which people can celebrate and appreciate AAPI Heritage Month, such as teaching yourself about the history of AAPI Month through exhibits and other educational events. People can also support small Asian-owned businesses and eat at their neighborhood Asian-owned restaurants. Mitchell says that even “watching AAPI movies, shows, and documentaries” are fun ways to celebrate.

Finding volunteer opportunities, donating to organizations that respect AAPI heritage, and addressing Asian and Pacific Islander violence/discrimination are ways to appreciate the cause.

With the rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been infuriated, hurt, anguished, but also persistent, Mitchell said.

According to the BBC, although federal hate crime data for 2020 has not yet been released, hate crimes in 2019 were at their highest level in over a decade. The BBC also reported that the United Nations “issued a report that detailed ‘an alarming level’ of racially motivated violence and other hate incidents against Asian Americans.”

Stop AAPI Hate, an advocacy group against racism says they received 6,603 reported incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans across the U.S. between March 19, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Incidents consisted of physical assaults, verbal harassment, and civil rights violations such as refusal of service. 

“It is easy to act blind to the injustice in our world, but I believe more now than ever people are also encouraged to continue to fight for what is right and become allies,” Mitchell explained.

Although AAPI Heritage Month is coming to a close, the time to appreciate Asian and Pacific Islander culture is year-round. Spinnaker wishes everyone an awesome AAPI Heritage Month.


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