May 03, 2021 2 mins, 42 secs

The assault, a harbinger of the onslaught of racialized attacks that occurred during the pandemic, helped three Asian American activists who would become co-founders of Stop AAPI Hate, the anti-Asian hate reporting center, realize that racism was spreading faster than the virus itself and something needed to be done to track the growing number of incidents against the community.

Led by Cynthia Choi, the co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, or CAA; Russell Jeung, professor and chair of the Asian American studies department at San Francisco State University; and Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, or A3PCON, Stop AAPI Hate is more than a popular hashtag or aggregator of anti-Asian incidents.

“What’s really been heartening has been the Asian American community response and having so many people come to support Stop AAPI Hate,” Jeung told NBC Asian America, noting that their volunteers range from high school students to data scientists.

“I’m really proud we can be contributing to a global movement, and that’s something that I think will probably be the most significant impact of Stop AAPI Hate — to galvanize the Asian American community and to empower the broader community.”.

Stop AAPI Hate formed after Jeung emailed Choi about the hundreds of anti-Asian news accounts he collected in February 2020.

Around the same time, Jeung saw that Kulkarni’s A3PCON, a coalition of community organizations in Los Angeles led by Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, was already starting to track anti-Asian hate incidents via a Google form.

“We knew women would be vulnerable, and I think that’s why Stop AAPI Hate, as a coalition, has been so effective,” said Choi, who previously worked with Kulkarni on gender-based violence at the Center for the Pacific Asian Family.

The co-founders believed if they didn’t document these incidents, there would be “a tendency to minimize, to suggest this was not serious to Asian American communities,” Choi said.

Stop AAPI Hate’s in-depth data has given media outlets and the general public proof of what so many Asian Americans suspected was happening based on anecdotal evidence. .

“I am deeply grateful for the work of Stop AAPI Hate in collecting data about and galvanizing public awareness of anti-Asian racism,” said historian Jane Hong, author of “Opening the Gates to Asia.” “By providing Asian Americans with an accessible way to self-report, Stop AAPI Hate has also given us a community resource, a way to ‘speak back’ and register our outrage.” .

Hong noted that research shows Asian Americans are among the least likely to report hate crimes.

The policy and research nonprofit AAPI Data recently reported that 10 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have experienced hate crimes and hate incidents in 2021.

About a year after Stop AAPI Hate was formed, the state of California allocated $300,000 to support the reporting center’s tracking of hate incidents and advocacy, which was championed by members of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, as well as donations from corporations and individuals.

“That very much shaped my belief in the American legal system,” said Kulkarni, who testified at hearing in March before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on discrimination against Asian Americans

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