UCLA Teams Up with Stop AAPI Hate Coalition to Combat Anti-Asian Hate and Xenophobia Crisis as a Result of COVID-19

Photo by Lindsey Wasson for Reuters

By Meghan Imperio

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a rise in xenophobia against Asian communities across the country. Recently, this escalation of violent acts targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) has gained the attention of mainstream media, especially after an elderly Asian man died after being a victim of a hate crime in San Francisco and this week’s violent attack against six Asian women in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Stop AAPI Hate coalition formed in response to these targeted attacks against Asians amid the pandemic in order to address and combat anti-Asian discrimination and support Asian communities that are subjected to discrimination as a result of COVID-19. 

In a press release published in early March, the Stop AAPI Hate coalition and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center break down the allocation of their funding after receiving $1.4 million in funding from California for ongoing research, and other programs built to address the rising xenophobia against Asians as well as the broader impact that COVID-19 has had on Asian American communities. 

One of the programs which the funding will be allocated to is the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center which allows people to report acts of hate and xenophobia against Asian American people. This enables the coalition to track these incidents in order to respond to racial discrimination sparked by the pandemic, advocate for this community and use it towards research. 

The Stop AAPI Hate Coalition states in the press release: “In the past year, we have seen that it is absolutely critical to invest in tracking the number of hate incidents against Asian Americans that are taking place. Documenting and analyzing the attacks — both in California and across the country — has enabled us to draw attention to this crisis, ensure that our community is not ignored, and advocate on its behalf” 

The funding allocated to Stop AAPI Hate will support the coalition’s efforts to address the devastating impact of anti-Asian hate, including tracking and documenting incidents in order to proactively prevent future incidents from occurring. The funding will also allow the coalition to expand the resources it can offer directly to impacted community members and families, as well as establish new partnerships with organizations, businesses and governments to develop long-lasting policy and community-based solutions to hate and violence.”

These funds from California will also go towards the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, which has been researching topics such as the research by Paul Ong, which looks at the ways in which the pandemic has affected Asian communities through business, home owning and renting.

“The funding allocated to the UCLA Asian American Studies Center will enable it to continue its commitment to research into subjects like housing and employment,” said the press release.

Furthermore, the funding will also support the website developed by this program along with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health which offers translations of COVID-19 medical facts and health guidelines: “The center’s website translates COVID-19 medical facts into dozens of languages to advance efforts to get evidence-based information to people who are often isolated by language barriers from public health messages.” 

This program seeks to ensure that a language barrier does not put certain groups at a greater health risk due to a lack of access to public information, and that all individuals have access to the same guidelines and information regardless of the language that they speak.  

This Multilingual Resource Hub offers translations about COVID-19 information as well as COVID-19 vaccination information in a variety of languages such as French, Armenian, Hmong and countless other languages. The website also offers the information in multiple languages based on local guidelines for various states and territories.

With this funding, Stop AAPI Hate and UCLA Asian American Studies Center aims to allow research to continue and lead to solutions that will be beneficial to all communities, raise awareness of the marginalization that Asian Americans are currently experiencing as a result of the pandemic, protect Asian communities from racially motivated acts of violence, and support those who have been a victim of these crimes.

This act by the state of California is the first step in many actions against xenophobia and racism against AAPI that are sure to come. For example, on March 5th, the Department of Justice, in accordance with President Biden’s “Presidential Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States” held a listening session as part of the effort to combat hate crimes against AAPI communities. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, there have been over 3,000 reports of racism and discrimination which target Asian Amercians across the country. 

Many people were not aware that these attacks against Asian communities are not new occurrences, and have been occurring frequently since the start of the pandemic, but not getting the attention from the media. The visibility and awareness of these attacks is a result of the rise in hate crimes due to the racist rhetoric about the pandemic finally being brought to the attention of the mainstream media. This rise in awareness likely served as a catalyst for Stop AAPI Hate receiving this funding from the state.

While the fight against racism, xenophobia and acts of violence against AAPI as a direct result of the ongoing pandemic has just begun, there will likely be much more legislation and protections for all communities—especially underrepresented communities such as low income, minority and AAPI communities—to come in order to address the disproportionate toll that the pandemic has taken on these groups.

Meghan Imperio is a writer for the LA Vanguard’s social justice desk. She is an English major at UCLA, originally from Glendale, CA.

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    1. David Greenwald

      Pretty sure the number of anti-Asian hate incidents went way up in 2020. According to Stop AAPI, it went up 50% over the previous year. So it wasn’t zero before, but it is now much higher.

      1. Ron Oertel

        The real question (regarding the case I cited) is why this school board member wasn’t recalled back in 2016.  Do you suppose it’s because of her own skin color?  (That’s my theory.)

        There’s a more complete article in the Chronicle, today regarding this school board member.

        You can also see some of the tweets in the references (which she still isn’t removing, apparently).

      2. Ron Oertel

        But actually, it seems to me that what this school board member is stating should be discussed, without necessarily a mob mentality.  I’m gathering that she is upset that the Asian community at some schools is not “speaking up” about racism against blacks, and that some of this is arising within the Asian community itself.

        And that the Asian community is already doing well, as is.

        Of course, left out of this is black racism against Asians.  (But, some claim that this “isn’t possible”, I understand. And for that matter, no person of color – including Asians, is capable of engaging in racism.)

        Truth be told, I don’t have much hope for honest discussion of racism (in any way, shape or form), especially in the current environment. And the reason for that is (mostly) arising from those who claim to be “anti-racist”.

        The bigger reason that it’s coming up now (in regard to the cited example) seems to be due to the effort to do-away with merit-based enrollments, at the city’s top public high school (Lowell).  Which is currently dominated by Asians.

        In general, I don’t support doing-away with merit based systems, just because it ends up in sometimes ends up in disproportionate representation (for whatever reason).  Same reason that I don’t support Affirmative action, quotas, etc.


        1. Ron Oertel

          Your point of that photo being . . .?

          For what it’s worth, I think you’d have to look at the industry itself (and what they’re “selling”), regarding what occurred there.  (Along with the reasons that they work there, and, the customers it attracts.  But yeah, it ultimately resulted in hatred (of women?  Asian women?  women who work at massage parlors?), didn’t it?

          In any case, I’d suggest a Google search of “Asian massage parlors” for example, etc. to learn more about that. (If you’re not already familiar with it.)

          I think that what occurred more recently in San Francisco (even more recently) might be a better example of white racism (rather than black) against Asians.  But, that’s been the exception, rather than the rule.

          I’d like to know more about the security guard, who held that guy.  He was apparently being chased by that guard when he attacked the last woman.  Which seems like an odd time to engage in yet another attack.

          Ultimately, it’s not particularly healthy (or productive) to scapegoat any skin color, including whites.


          This might be my fifth comment.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Hope you’ll allow this final clarification:

          I don’t intend to imply anything negative regarding all Asian massage parlors, let-alone the ones involved in this incident.  Nor would I imply anything negative regarding all of their customers.

          But again, I’d encourage a Google search, if you want to know more.

          I’m not familiar with what this guy posted on social media (first I’ve heard about it), but I’m sure that there are white people who harbor racist thoughts, and act upon them.  As with all skin colors.

          Seems to me that mass shooters are usually/often white, but not sure if they’re “disproportionately” represented in terms of their population size.  (Probably, I’m guessing.) I don’t know the reason for that.

          But, the everyday racism that some experience is quite removed from periodic mass shootings.

      3. Ron Oertel

        However, the school board member also appears to be attempting to create a wedge between Asians and the “white privilege system”, by using the n-word against Asians and describing them as “help”.

        Not sure what she expects that to accomplish, but I don’t think it’s going to work as she hopes.  Especially since (as noted) Asians are doing well, in general.

        More likely, those type of comments are going to create a wedge that she did not intend.


  1. Alan Miller

    The more aware we as a society have become of, and the more that we as a society have condemned, anti-Asian violence, the more anti-Asian violence there seems to be.  Is this violence statistically increasing with awareness and condemnation, or is it the reporting/awareness that has increased?  Or both?  Or an even darker question, is the media-fueled awareness actually feeding into the demented minds of mentally-ill and/or violent racists to increase the committing of these acts?

    1. David Greenwald

      It’s always a question – more coverage or more crime. Clearly there was an increase in anti-Asian hate incidents, that’s been well documented. But now that the media are on to it, not clear that they are still going up. Of course, you have a mass shooting and that’s bound to attract attention.

    2. Bill Marshall

      … or is it the reporting/awareness (I’d add, “characterization” that has increased?

      From what I’ve heard from some folk who have reported “multiple incidents”, a lot of what would have been identified as random “jerk behavior”, and/or crimes, have been ‘categorized’ as “hate incidents/crimes” with the more sensitive lens when folk of different ethnicities/races have been involved…

      There could well be other factors involved, but I think the one cited is probably the prevalent one…

  2. David Greenwald

    “The research released by reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate on Tuesday revealed nearly 3,800 incidents were reported over the course of roughly a year during the pandemic. It’s a significantly higher number than last year’s count of about 2,600 hate incidents nationwide over the span of five months.”

    Stop AAPI Hate received reports of 3,292 incidents that occurred in 2020.

    Stop AAPI Hate received reports of 503 incidentsthat occured in 2021.

    So the rate is not still going up, but it’s higher than it had been.

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