Honoring AAPI Heritage Month 2021
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the US. These communities have significantly contributed to American history and continue to be the cornerstone of future success in the nation. For background, the first Japanese immigrants came to the US on May 6, 1843, and the transcontinental railroad was completed — predominantly, by Chinese immigrant workers — on May 10, 1869. This is why the month of May is AAPI Heritage Month.
The state of Washington has close ties to the Pacific Rim in trade, the love of its culture, and in its history with the Asian community. As of 2020, Washington state’s population consists of 703,786 Asian Americans and 60,434 Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Together, 764,220 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders live in Washington, making them the second-largest ethnic group in the state.
Other fun facts about Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the US include:
- About 10% of businesses in the US are owned by Asians
- About 5,157 businesses in the US are owned by Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders
- Asian Pacific American women served in World War II
- 2017 was the first-ever year that 2 Asian American women served in the Senate
- Kamala Harris is the first US vice president of Asian American and African American descent
- The AAPI population in the US is expected to double over 47 million by 2060, yet it remains one of the most understudied racial groups in the country
Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Are Rampant in the US
Since the spread of COVID-19, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have suffered staggering rates of hate crime victimization in the US. Seattle is one of 16 states with the highest rates of anti-Asian hate crimes, totaling 126 total hate crimes in 2020. In 2020, Seattle reported 2 hate crime incidents per day, but hate crimes and biased incidents have soared to 63% in 2021 over 2020, and the year isn’t even halfway over.
Although overall hate crimes have decreased by 6%, hate crimes against Asian individuals increased by nearly 145%. Stop AAPI Hate reported 3,795 hate incidents between March 19, 2020, and February 28, 2021, and that number may continue to increase over the year.
This is unacceptable. All immigrants have the right to feel protected from harm in the US.
How to Be an Ally to AAPI Communities
As a person who has immigrated to the US from another country and culture, I staunchly support all people wanting a better life in America. The increase in anti-Asian hate crime incidents is troubling and heartbreaking, but by making conscious efforts to protect our fellow AAPI communities, we can help combat racism against them.
How can you be an ally? According to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center, you can take action in a number of ways, such as:
- Encouraging those who experience or witness acts of AAPI hate to report these incidents here
- Sharing safety tips with your friends and family on how to handle a hate crime encounter as a witness or victim
- Staying informed about what is happening and why
- Supporting local efforts to stop these incidents through donations
- Being civically engaged in your local community
- Asking your elected officials how they are helping stop AAPI hate crime incidents
- Demanding ordinances or resolutions to condemn hate
- Advocating for expanded civil rights protections to safeguard AAPI individuals from harassment and discrimination in the workplace
Guadagno Law, PLLC is a safe environment for ALL people who not only need zealous and committed representation but also a compassionate and caring attorney who understands immigration to the US himself. All immigrants are entitled to feel safe in their adopted home.
My law firm is a safe place in which clients from all backgrounds are welcomed and respected. No matter what criminal charges you are faced with, count on me to champion your best interests every step of the way. I am not just a lawyer, but an advocate and ally for all my clients.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me at (206) 895-6800 to discuss your situation. I look forward to hearing from you!