Happy Lunar New Year from AAJA-SF President Cecilia Lei

Happy Lunar New Year from AAJA-SF President Cecilia Lei

In normal times, right around Lunar New Year, we’d likely be gathered together in San Francisco Chinatown for our annual spring banquet, toasting to the Year of the Ox, shaking hands and passing dishes back and forth.

We wish this is how we could’ve kicked off the new year and introduce ourselves — your new AAJA-SF Bay Area board — to all of you. 

For now, like with other traditions and celebrations being reimagined, we’re marking this holiday with a recommitment to our communities in light of all the unique challenges we’re facing right now. 

How do we celebrate when the anchor Chinatown restaurants and businesses that we grew up with continue to face the threats of closure during the pandemic? (We have some ideas below.) 

How do we think about the personal safety of our families and elders in the face of heightened racism and violence, while continuing our critical efforts to build cross-racial solidarity and advocacy for all people of color? (Check out a few resources below that may help you navigate these tough conversations, including addressing anti-Blackness in the Asian American community.)

These are the difficult, but necessary, questions we’re grappling with, and as AAPI journalists and storytellers, these current events might hit home. We echo AAJA National’s statement on urging newsrooms to continue covering anti-Asian violence and racism with intention and care. We are also mindful that these are delicate topics, and we strive to support the self-care and safety of journalists as they navigate this coverage. 

With the certainty that there will be challenges ahead, here is our Lunar New Year wish for all of you: that we continue to reimagine community building and radical new ways of connecting and supporting one another, even in moments of discomfort.

As a board, we are brainstorming what the year ahead will look like, but none of that work matters without your input. Let us know what you’re thinking and how we can support you, not only as journalists but also as fellow #AAJAFamily members. Share your ideas with us: aajasanfrancisco@gmail.com 

In the meantime, we wish all of you peace, prosperity, safety and hopefully a year of delicious meals, too.

Gung hay fat choy!

Coverage of racism and attacks on Asian Americans

The Guardian’s Vivian Ho and Abené Clayton write about Black and Asian unity and how attacks in the Bay Area shine a light on anti-Asian bias, stoking concerns of division between two minority communities

From KQED, a story about the mutual aid and volunteering that mobilized after videos of Chinatown violence sent shockwaves. Also, a new report says there have been at least 2,808 incidents of anti-Asian hate in the U.S. since the pandemic began, but that’s likely an undercount.

KQED Forum’s Mina Kim spoke with experts and state officials about how anti-Asian violence is impacting communities and individuals, and what can be done to stop it. 

The Oaklandside and Oakland Voices published a two-part deep dive into crime, race, and safety as it relates to the high-profile attacks in Oakland Chinatown. In Part Two of the story, At-Large Board Member Sarah Belle Lin raised the voices of merchants, activists, community members, and the homegrown efforts to provide community safety to Oakland Chinatown. Read Part One & Read Part Two.

As reported by Ashley Wong in the Sacramento Bee, California legislators approved $1.4 million in state funding to help combat anti-Asian violence and racism through the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Janelle Bitker wrote an in-depth story about how racist attacks against Asian Americans isn’t new. It includes historical context and video interviews with victims of racism.

Chronicle columnist Justin Phillips writes about the complicated yet necessary conversations between Black and Asian communities when discussing local crimes against Asian Americans: “Now is the time to simply hear the pain.” 

Princeton University professor Anne Anlin Cheng asks “What This Wave of Anti-Asian Violence Reveals About America” in the New York Times Opinion section.

Bettina Makalintal of Vice reports on how Asian Americans Are Calling on Allies in Response to a Wave of Violence.

Resources

ASIAN HATE CRIMES

From journalist Josie Huang: Guides on how to report a hate crime in L.A., O.C., and S.F. in Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center: If you witness or experience a hate incident or hate crime, report the incident to Stop AAPI Hate. Reporting hate incidents is critical to spread awareness and drive legislative change. You can file a report in 10+ AAPI languages.Visit and/or join AAPI Women Lead and their #ImReady Movement, which raises visibility around self-identified AAPI women and our experiences with #MeToo, racial discrimination, war, immigration, and more. 

HOW TO COMBAT ANTI-BLACKNESS

From the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center: A video conversation between Liz Kleinrock and Dr. Kiona about the history of Asian-Black solidarity movements for liberation. This talk is a part of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s educational webinar series, “We are not a stereotype: Breaking down Asian Pacific American bias.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Resources Toolkit for the AAPI community on combating Anti-Blackness. This toolkit compiles movies and documentaries, reading lists, articles, Black-led organizations to follow.Read Michelle Kim’s Medium article on 30 ways Asians Perpetuate Anti-Black Racism Everyday. Some ways include: “4. Preferring lighter skin color over dark. 12. Staying silent when Black people experience violence (which is.. everyday) and never posting anything publicly due to fear of being othered — silence = tacit approval, no matter how you want to explain it. 25. Not participating in protests and riots when bodies are needed to show solidarity and power.”

SUPPORT CHINATOWN/LOCAL BIZ

Save Our Chinatowns has partnered with local artists and organizations to produce limited edition products in support of Oakland and San Francisco Chinatown businesses.

Feed + Fuel Chinatown provides meals from San Francisco Chinatown restaurants for food insecure residents in Single Room Occupancy hotels.Good Good Eatz provides meals to first responders and community members in need from minority-owned businesses. Check out their cross-collaboration Asian-Black-Unity merchandise with former Black Panther Miss Tarika Lewis.

Note: This post is an updated version of the chapter’s February email newsletter.

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