Local View: Standing together, we can defeat hate

No, your Asian Pacific Islander Desi American neighbors in the Twin Ports are not OK right now


A month ago, members of our local Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) community wrote a “Local View” column , published by the News Tribune, calling on readers to acknowledge pandemic-fueled and politically stoked anti-Asian hate. In the weeks since, reported cases of hate crimes across the country have only snowballed. As the news broke of the March 16 shootings in Atlanta, Asians across America began to stand up visibly, saying, “Enough is enough!”

Within 24 hours of the Atlanta massacre, we organized a candlelight vigil at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. The attendance of some 150 people, including APIDA community members and allies, cast light on the long history of anti-Asian hate in this country — and on the rising trend of violence, from verbal harassment to murder. The strong display of unity and allyship has heartened our community, momentarily tamping down our growing fears.

Many have asked us: What can we do to help? We suggest these action steps:

Speak up for justice. History has proven time and again that silence is harmful. Call it out when you hear racial jokes or slurs. Attend community events; participate in crucial conversations. Too often, victims endure racism in isolation.

Tend to your own growth and transformation. University of Minnesota professor Erika Lee’s book, “The Making of Asian America,” tells our compelling and sweeping history. The book, “A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota,” is a beautifully written set of essays that interrogates the concept of “Minnesota Nice.” Watch the wonderful documentary, “Asian Americans,” streaming for free on the PBS website. Check out the websites of the Asian Minnesotan Alliance For Justice , and Stop AAPI Hate .


Interrupt cases of verbal or physical harassment when you see them. Report hate crimes to the Duluth Human Rights Office and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Sign up for an excellent one-hour virtual bystander training through the Asian Americans Advancing Justice website ( AAJC also offers a one-hour training for APIDA on what to do when facing harassment.

Your APIDA neighbors in the Twin Ports are not OK right now. Check in with us. See us. Get to know us. We probably have more in common with you than you think. Affirm our dignity. Listen to our stories without judgment. Look out for our safety, especially our elders, women, and children.

Support the Minnesota Department of Education's initiative to make K-12 social studies curriculum more inclusive . Our children need to see accurate representations of APIDA folks in school curricula at all levels.

It is important to expose children to different cultures and to celebrate them. But don’t stop there. Now is the time for parents to talk to their children about race and racism. Check out the book, “Raising Antiracist Kids,” by Rebekah Gienapp. APIDA parents may find helpful resources for this moment at .

Support BIPOC-owned businesses and organizations (BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and people of color). Economic stability and reducing poverty lead to a healthier, more vibrant community.

The hate we are experiencing right now is not a new, isolated phenomenon. It has long been experienced by Black, Indigenous. and people of color in this country and locally. We stand with our BIPOC neighbors against white supremacy, which seeks to minimize and victimize us all. This is a distressing time, but only by standing together and seeing each other with a lens of love, gratitude, and hope do we have a chance to defeat the forces of hate.

This commentary was written and submitted by Asian women in the Twin Ports who are committed to advocacy and engagement. They have expertise in education, civic affairs, health care, business, the arts, and equal justice. They are: Betty Casazza, Julia Cheng, Belissa Ho, Julie Kim, Sharon Kwong, Jennifer Lien, Pakou Ly, Sharon Yung, Misa Clark, Heidi Cragun, Elsie V. Davis, Xiaowen Fang, Hui Huang, Laura Jae Johnson, Kim Nordin, Renee Passal, and Lin Xiu.

Related Topics: CORONAVIRUS
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