Blog, Social Justice

The Bay Area Needs to Support its Asian American Communities


In 2021, the violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) has been highlighted due to the climb in outrageous crimes. There have been countless attacks and murders against AAPI including a 91-year-old man who was shoved to the ground in Oakland, a 64-year-old woman who was mugged in San Jose and even a murder of an 84-year-old man after he was attacked in the middle of the day in San Francisco. 

 

Where does this hate come from? In the Bay Area, it has stemmed from centuries of discrimination. In the mid-1800s, there was a huge wave of Chinese immigration into San Francisco filled with men and women looking for work on railroads, agriculture and mining during the Gold Rush. Since these immigrants were desperate for work, they allowed themselves to be underpaid and work in harsh conditions. Because Chinese immigrants were willing to work for less, the first- and second-generation Americans believed that they were losing out on jobs. This eventually led to discriminatory laws that prevented Chinese immigration including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which suspended immigration for 10 years. 

 

The Chinese immigrants were slowly being pushed out – until the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. This catastrophic disaster led to rampant fires across the city that burned down businesses, homes and legal paperwork that protected Chinese immigrants. Although devastating and a setback for the Chinese-American business owners, this actually ended up helping the immigrants that were already in the States. This allowed them to claim American citizenship because their immigration paperwork had burned up. It took until the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 for Chinese immigration to be accepted again. Although a huge win for Chinese immigrants at the time, the decades of discrimination has led to the current state of prejudice that AAPI communities face in the city.

The hate against AAPI is outrageous and unacceptable, especially in the Bay Area. California has the highest number of Asian-Americans in the United States, making up 14.8% of the entire population of the state. A majority of the Asian-American population live in San Francisco and San Jose, two of the biggest cities that make up the greater Bay Area. During these kinds of tumultuous times, the Bay Area needs to step up and support its Asian communities. So – we are a feminist blog. How does feminism play into this? True intersectional feminism supports AAPI communities. As allies to our Asian-American communities, we have to make sure that we are doing what it takes to prevent AAPI hate.

Educate yourself about Asian-American voices and backgrounds, support Asian-American businesses, especially in San Francisco’s Chinatown which was hit hard by COVID, report hate crimes against AAPI folks and always make sure to do your part in standing up against those who discriminate against Asian-Americans. Support nonprofits like Stop AAPI Hate, visit museums that support AAPI Communities such as the Asian Art Museum, and volunteer for organizations like the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the country’s first civil rights organization for Asian Americans. With the Bay Area having one of the highest concentrations of Asian-Americans communities in the country, it’s appalling to see how people have reacted to AAPI people. Granted the Bay Area is fairly accepting and liberal, this is not the case around the country. We can’t start to do better unless we speak up and act. Check out the sources below to learn more about the AAPI communities and how to help.

Sources

Yasi Agah is a San Francisco native who loves to read, write, roller-skate and listen to Blink 182. Her favorite genre is definitely memoirs. Becoming by Michelle Obama makes her tear up every time she reads it.

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