By: Christina Chen
With the rise of COVID-19 came the rise in Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate crimes. This past year, the number of AAPI hate crimes has risen quickly. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found that between 2019 and 2020, hate crimes against Asian Americans rose approximately 150%. In New York City, there were 28 AAPI hate crimes reported in 2020 as compared to the 3 reported in 2019.
As the number of AAPI hate crimes increase, worries grow. Some students have even expressed feeling unsafe to go out: “It’s really scary. Honestly, it kind of makes me more paranoid to go out some places,” said sophomore Sydney Tatsumi. Tatsumi continued, saying,“I feel kind of bad, because you know, crimes against other people of color, but I haven’t reacted in really any way and I haven’t reacted in this way, either because I don’t have, really, any way to on social media. But, I feel guilty because this one makes me realize how bad violence against people of color is.” Paolo Maloles, an English teacher added to this, “They’re [the crimes are] atrocious, but sadly it’s nothing new. You know, this has been a really consistent feature of American society for a long time, there’s always been anti-Asian sentiment in the country. So just because it’s more visible now doesn’t mean that it’s happening more. It’s happened this way for as long as I can remember.”
Recently there have been anti-AAPI hate crime rallies held all over. Speaking out against these crimes and giving people a place to voice their thoughts and opinions, these rallies have helped uplift and empower people to speak their truth. Sabrina Wun, a Mandarin teacher at Las Lomas, said, “I think this is the time that we have to really come out of our shell, and to express our feelings and show them that we are a part of this society and we want to create a good world, and we have to show them our determination and what we think.”
Violence against Asians has always existed, but recent events have helped bring these crimes to light. AAPI hate crimes have gotten more coverage and have been given more attention lately. This year, a new club at Las Lomas was founded called the Asian Student Union or the ASU which was created with a goal of “want[ing] something for our Asian population to make sure that they’re supported,” said Jason Tong, a science teacher at Las Lomas who took on the job of helping create the ASU. It has allowed a foundation to talk about experiences of others in order to gain awareness and bring light to this subject.