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'We are human beings' | The AAPI community is speaking up against hatred and discrimination

Since the height of COVID-19, the number of attacks against the AAPI community are up. And people everywhere are standing up against the hate.

AUSTIN, Texas — As part of KVUE's celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we spoke to community members about the significance of #StopAAPIHate and how it’s so much more than just a trending hashtag.

"Stop AAPI Hate, which began as a campaign in 2020, has quickly become a rallying cry for solidarity,” said Ayshea Khan, an Asian American community archivist at the Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to take a toll on so many people’s lives, there was also an increase in anti-Asian violence. And one attack focused the nation’s attention on just how extreme this hatred had become.

“It came to a head when eight women, six of them Asian, were murdered in Atlanta,” KVUE anchor and Defenders reporter Jenni Lee said. “That was just one of the most shocking moments.”

For so long, the AAPI community was silent about the hatred they were facing. But the time for silence was over. 

“This is our opportunity, and this is by necessity where we’re coming together,” said So-Han Fan, owner of West China Tea in Austin. “We’re standing up and saying, 'We are human beings.' The discrimination that we face is unjust and we’re going to speak up against it.”

However, the #StopAAPIHate hashtag is bigger than one community. It’s about everyone standing together. 

“We’re all kind of looking for the same things, but our origin stories may look a little different,” said Lily Trieu, interim executive director of Asian Texans for Justice. “There’s so much power in being able to come together.”

“Austin is an inclusive community, full of love. Please don’t be afraid to speak up,” Lee said.

“What I can do is send a constant message from lots of people ... that you do belong. Your identities are worthwhile, and you’re loved,” said Saatvik Ahluwalia, digital director for Asian Texans for Justice. “There’s people who look like you who have been here for a long time and we’re going to take care of you.”

If you or a loved one are experiencing hate crimes or if you’d like to learn more about the #StopAAPIHate movement, please utilize any of the following resources:

KVUE on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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