Friends, the senseless and tragic killing of eight people—six of them Asian women—on March 16 at three sites in Atlanta is on the hearts and minds of many right now. Unfortunately, they aren’t even the latest incidents of violence against Asians or violence against women. I’m referring to a 27-year-old woman of Asian descent who was shot and killed four days later in Compton, California. By the time this issue of AgeWise goes to press, I’m afraid there will be more.
Crimes against Asian Americans didn’t start last month. On April 1 of last year (2020), the FBI warned us about an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 outbreak. In the earliest days of the pandemic, we read a slew of articles about people with irrational fear of food from Asian restaurants. A Stop AAPI Hate national report issued last August outlines other types of discrimination, including verbal harassment, physical assaults, and workplace discrimination.
A University of California San Francisco study released last month shows that anti-Asian sentiments on Twitter were markedly increased following Donald Trump’s comments about the origin of COVID-19, starting in early 2020. He has repeated those comments subsequently and recently, knowing full well that they could lead to violence.
Please don’t turn a blind eye! Read “Asian Americans reported being targeted at least 500 times in the last two months” (CNN, 3/18/2021) and—written before the Atlanta shootings—“Ignoring The History Of Anti-Asian Racism Is Another Form Of Violence” (Elle, 3/1/2021).
So, what can you do? A good place to start is reading “What you can do to fight violence and racism against Asian Americans” (PBS News Hour, 3/18/2021). Individuals can:
- Check in with your Asian American peers—friends, co-workers, neighbors.
- Donate to victims’ families to help cover funeral costs.
- Learn about the history of Asian American discrimination (and all forms of discrimination).
- Speak out when you witness bias, discrimination, or bad behavior of any kind, which only fuels hatred in our community.
- Learn what resources are available to individuals and families of Asian descent. See the list below this article.
- Let elected officials know you’re looking for more support for Asians in our community, including in-language crisis intervention resources and increased availability of mental health, legal, employment and immigration services and supports.
Learning for Justice is an excellent website that provides free webinars, podcasts, and tips on self-guided learning, as well as low-cost online workshops. I encourage you to browse through their resources and share with friends, family, and colleagues.
We witnessed a slight turning in the tide of discrimination against Black and brown people in the past year. Awareness needs to extend to discrimination against people of Asian descent. I hope and pray that change happens without any more trauma and tragic deaths. But as we know, hopes and prayers aren’t enough. I hope you will look out for your Asian friends and neighbors, and act and speak out against all forms of violence and racism.
Contributor Dick Woo chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. He welcomes input from readers via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) as well as applicants for open positions on the council. For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council.
Outreach and Delivery of Services to AAPI Older Adults
Locally, the Chinese Information and Service Center (CISC) supports Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals and families. CISC is a member of the Coalition Against Hate & Bias, which is supported by the King County Office of Equity and Social Justice. They have established a reporting portal for racial discrimination, harassment incidents, and all forms of oppression throughout our region.
The following online resources were distributed by The National Center on Law & Elder Rights recently:
- National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA): AAPI Toolkit—Includes best practices and outreach strategies for organizations wishing to reach and engage AAPI older adults.
- NAPCA & Advancing IQ: Strengthening Cultural Competence in Information & Referral/Assistance Work with AAPI Older Adults—This hour-long free course for information and referral/assistance providers provides an overview of AAPI older adult populations throughout America and how to integrate cultural and linguistic competence into work with AAPI older adults.
- Stanford School of Medicine: Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander Older Adults—This training module includes information on demographics, patterns of health risk, and the role of cultural competency in the health assessment and treatment of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.
- National Center on Elder Abuse: Research Brief—Mistreatment of Asian Pacific Islander Elders—Provides information on AAPI elder mistreatment and strategies for intervention.
- Southeast Asian Resource Action Center: Resources on Eligibility & Access to Aid—Includes resources on AAPI access to health care services, economic relief, and emotional and mental support.
- Justice in Aging: Ten Things You Should Know About Language Access Advocacy for Older Adults—Provides tips and considerations for addressing language barriers, which are a major cause of low-income older adults being unable to access the health care they need.
Mark Your Calendars
Following are some of the virtual events (online or phone meetings) that ADS Advisory Council members are interested in attending:
- National Fair Housing Month: Learn more about fair housing issues here.
- Close to Home—featuring Jay Woolford (SHAG) and Sara Sisco (Hopelink): Thursday, April 1 (10:30–11:30 a.m.), online and phone options. To log on at event time, visit bit.ly/AgeFriendlyLive.
- ADS Advisory Council Meeting: Friday, April 9 (12 noon). To receive a link to join the meeting, e-mail Sariga.Santhosh@seattle.gov.
- Civic Coffee Hour—featuring Emily Alvarado (Seattle Office of Housing): Thursday, April 15 (10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.), online and phone options. To log on at event time, visit bit.ly/AgeFriendlyLive.
- Mayor’s Council on African American Elders: Friday, April 16 (2:00–3:30 p.m.) online only. To receive a link to join the meeting, e-mail Karen.Winston@seattle.gov in advance.
For more local Aging Network events, click here.