SACRAMENTO, Calif. — There's a new campaign to help stop AAPI hate. That, specifically, means taking a stand against racism and violence towards people in Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
The Laban group, a Filipino ethnic media collaborative, presented the new anti-Asian hate awareness campaign to the public at the California Museum in Sacramento, Friday.
Four community organizations make up the group, including the Asian American Liberation Network, Bulosan Center for Filipinx Studies, Everyday Impact Consulting and Philippine Fiesta. The group formed in 2022 to help amplify the Filipino American experience and response to racial violence through media in the Greater Sacramento region and surrounding areas.
Together, the Asian-led organizations are using the new awareness and education campaign to support Filipino communities, specifically in Sacramento and Stockton. It includes photos, data, help lines and strong messages tackling AAPI hate, like 'Stand Up To Anti-Asian Hate' and 'Strongest Together.'
"This is a crucial and significant issue that's impacting our lives," said Vince Sales, CEO of Everday Impact Consulting. "We wanted to make sure that people have the resources that's available to them in case they're victimized by acts of anti-Asian hate and violence."
There's been a significant spike in harassment, verbal abuse and hate speech towards AAPI communities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the latest data from the non-profit Stop AAPI Hate, more than 11,000 hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been reported in the U.S. between March 2020 and March 2022. California accounted for the most incidents, with more than 4,300.
As a Filipina, Megan Sapigao is taking a stand against anti-Asian hate, too. She co-founded the Asian American Liberation Network in 2020 "to address existing inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, address root causes to mounting racism and build a sustainable community-centered movement."
Sapigao, who lives in Elk Grove, worries about loved ones being targeted because of their race and ethnicity. She says change does not happen without the community and without speaking out against racism and hate.
"I have witnessed it in my own family," said Sapigao. "I've told elders in my community and family to be careful when they go out to places. We've also taken different routes and avoided certain areas."
California Attorney General Rob Bonta is the first Filipino American to serve in the position. He acted as one of the guest speakers at the event. He says the state is tackling the growing anti-Asian hate problem. That includes launching a Racial Justice Bureau within the California Department of Justice in 2021.
Specifically, the Bureau will support DOJ's broader mandate to advance the civil rights of all Californians and, among other things, assist with new and ongoing efforts on:
- Hate crimes and organizations, taking on the insidious effects of white supremacy and hate organizations on our society and stepping up outreach with community organizations and law enforcement on hate crime prevention, information sharing, and reporting;
- Implicit and explicit bias in policing, launching and supporting investigations as appropriate and recognizing the urgent need to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve;
- Law enforcement best practices, issuing guidance to local law enforcement, prosecutors, and other public entities regarding shared challenges in providing for public safety;
- Campus climate issues, including conducting and supporting investigations into overly punitive, discriminatory policies where they arise and working to find innovative ways to strengthen diverse, equitable, and inclusive school environments; and
- Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, assisting with the implementation of the new task force as authorized under Assembly Bill 3121.
The Department is also standing against hate by working directly with district attorneys in California to help identify and investigate hate crimes, along with encouraging district attorney offices to have hate crime units, among other actions.
Bonta goes on to explain how the DOJ also has a hate crime and hate incident statewide coordinator who works with government entities and other community based organizations, internally, to address hate. The Attorney General's office is also working with mayors in big cities to help bring about change and solutions statewide.
"People are getting hurt and it's been happening for too long," Attorney General said Bonta. "As we continue to face this challenge in the rise of hate against all communities, I want the people of California to know that their Attorney General stands with them. I have you back. I support you. I see you. I vaule you, and I'm doing everything in my power to push back against the forces of hate."
If you believe you're the victim of a hate crime or witnessed a hate crime, report it by calling your local police department. You can also send a tip to the FBI. There are also other ways to report hate incidents, like reaching out to trusted community-based organizations or non-profits like Stop AAPI Hate.