May 18, 2021 IN: Education, National, Press Room
SEARAC Marks Third Annual National AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate
SEARAC stands in solidarity with Act to Change and hundreds of partner organizations to end bullying and hate in AAPI communities.
Today, SEARAC is proud to join cities, states, elected officials, and community organizations across the country to commemorate the third annual National Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Day Against Bullying and Hate, led by anti-bullying nonprofit Act To Change.
National AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate is part of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AANHPIHM) and marks the birthday of Vincent Chin. In 1982, as Detroit’s auto industry was rapidly declining and as white Americans blamed Asian Americans for layoffs, Chin was brutally killed by two white men in Detroit, MI. His murder fueled a national Asian American movement that galvanized a generation of Asian Americans to devote their lives to organizing and public service and form a host of new coalitions and organizations. This movement must continue as we see parallels today in how Asians and Asian Americans are being blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to violent xenophobia and racism.
The United States has a long history of anti-AAPI racism and violence, particularly for Southeast Asian American (SEAA) communities who are still impacted by the trauma of the war and bombings of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; the cycle of intergenerational trauma and unaddressed mental health needs; the lack of resources for SEAA youth in education and for SEAA elders in health; and the ongoing detention and deportation of our friends and family members.
AAPI youth are deeply impacted by racism and violence through school bullying; cultural, religious, and linguistic barriers can keep these youth from seeking and receiving help. For example, half the youth we surveyed for our 2019 report on school culture and climate for AAPI youth in California indicated being bullied in school. Recently, as part of a survey we conducted with SEAA college students, 58% — nearly 3 in every 5 — SEAA youth reported needing mental health services.
“Southeast Asian American communities’ vulnerability to bullying and mental health issues, combined with the myriad health and economic challenges of the pandemic, urge us as a society to better support youth with comprehensive care and resources,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “We call on policymakers to address the systemic causes of bullying and hate, which we know can be prevented through an investment in community education, and to fund restorative justice programs in schools, which can create a safe space for impacted youth to speak, participate, and heal. For far too long, our children have felt the isolation in not seeing our diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences reflected in the histories they learn in the classroom and their experiences in school. We need ethnic studies curricula available to all students in order to combat racially motivated bullying effectively and to cultivate awareness of the cultural richness that AAPI students bring to their schools.”
SEARAC denounces all bullying and hate against the AAPI community, and we stand in solidarity with Act To Change and more than 200 community partners to encourage the public to foster dialogue, share resources, and end bullying and hate. Join us today, 5/18/2021, at 1:00 PM PT / 4:00 PM ET for Act To Change’s day of virtual programming, UNITED WE STAND, to commemorate National AAPI Day Against Bullying and Hate with special guests and performances.
Elaine Sanchez Wilson
Elaine Sanchez Wilson