Organizations tracking anti-Asian violence and racism since the Covid-19 pandemic began last March received a $1.4 million funding boost with Monday’s passage of Assembly Bill 85.
Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the Assembly Budget Committee chair, said in a statement:
“The rise in hate incidents against Asian Americans during the pandemic is alarming. But, we can’t solve a problem without knowing how big it is. New state funding allows the data gathering to continue, and the research will ultimately lead us to solutions that will make all communities safer.”
The AB 85 funding will help support the continued work of the Stop AAPI Hate research center website, which has been tracking the nationwide rise of violence and racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The tracking effort is done in collaboration with the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University.
The website is accessible in multiple languages and asks individuals to report incidents of violence or hate they have personally experienced or witnessed. In 2020, Stop AAPI Hate documented 2,808 incidents, more than 800 of which occurred in the Bay Area.
In a report, community leaders point fingers at former President Donald Trump for his rhetoric last year when publicly discussing the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump repeatedly used terms such as “China virus” and “Kung Flu” at rallies, press briefings and on Twitter before his account was permanently suspended.
Communities and city officials have come together to denounce the violence and some have volunteered to patrol neighborhoods.
Cynthia Choi, the co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, said at a virtual press conference earlier this month that the violence and hate against the AAPI community has been devastating for seniors, adding:
“Our community is fearful of being in public alone, simply going for a walk, living our daily lives. These incidents are a stark reminder that urgent action must be taken to protect our community from discrimination from violence, and sometimes hate.”
“Love Our People, Heal Our Communities” rallies held in both Oakland and The City on the weekend of Feb. 13 drew support from people of different races and ages, all of whom came together to condemn violence and hate against Asians.