Back in March of 2020, a New York Times piece—featuring interviews with nearly two dozen people—took a hard look at the hate many Chinese Americans were facing while then-president Donald J. Trump repeatedly insisted on referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”
That same month, Karen Baynes-Dunning—the former interim president of the Southern Poverty Law Center—shared a detailed statement explaining just how serious the increase in reports of bias-related attacks against Asians and Asian Americans were while also pointing to the recklessness of Trump’s messaging during the early days of the pandemic.
Among the examples of anti-Asian acts of hate cited at the time was an Asian man who was sprayed with air freshener on an NYC subway, the sharing of propaganda with a fake World Health Organization seal telling Los Angeles residents to avoid Asian American businesses, and a number of instances of verbal and non-verbal street harassment.
Nearly one year later, the mainstream news coverage of such violence against Asian Americans is still lacking, with a number of actors and other public figures taking matters into their own hands when it comes to getting the message out.
Rise founder Amanda Nguyễn, for example, recently shared an IG video in which she asked “journalists with massive platforms” to start giving these stories the attention they deserve. In the video, she specifically highlighted an 84-year-old Thai American who was murdered in San Francisco, a 64-year-old Vietnamese grandmother who was assaulted in San Jose, and a Filipino-American who was slashed across the face on a Manhattan subway.
“The mainstream media does not spotlight our stories enough,” she said. “We matter and racism is killing us … Our community is being attacked and we are dying to be heard.”
Last week, actor Daniel Dae Kim announced that he and Daniel Wu were offering $25,0000 to anyone who may have information that could assist in the arrest of a suspect wanted for attacking an elderly Asian man in Oakland, California. A suspect, identified by police as Yahya Muslim, was ultimately arrested this week and charged with multiple counts including assault and inflicting great bodily injury. In addition to allegedly attacking a 91-year-old man, he was said to have also attacked a 60-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman on the same day.
Other recent examples, per a regional Bay Area NBC News outlet, include an anti-Asian racist slur being painted on a building across the street from the Chinese American International School this week in San Francisco.
And in Oakland, a special response unit has been launched that will focus on crimes against Asians, with emphasis placed on crimes committed against elderly Asians.
Others, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have also spoken out in recent days about the need for these instances of violence to be treated with a sense of urgency in the news cycle and beyond: