The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Anti-Asian hate crimes are rising across the United States. What can you do to be an ally towards the Asian community in SLO?


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  Acts of violence are rising at an alarming rate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic which originated in China. San Luis Obispo High School students should recognize and acknowledge these acts of violence as hate crimes due to racial profiling. From being verbally harassed to physically assaulted, and more recently a mass shooting in Atlanta leaving eight people dead, including six Asian American women in Asian-owned spas. An elderly Thai immigrant dies after being shoved to the ground. A Filipino-American is slashed in the face with a box cutter. A Chinese woman is slapped and then set on fire. When will there be a change? 

  “To put it simply, it’s enraging. It’s so frustrating that people target someone only because of their race, something that they can’t control. Overall, I’m just speechless that this is a hot topic issue especially in the year 2021. It’s so wrong that people’s first instincts are to hurt someone just because of the color of their skin, it’s disgusting,” said senior Paolo Piurque. 

  Hate crimes are more difficult to charge and prosecute than other criminal charges, largely because they require law enforcement to prove a specific motivation of bias. With the dramatic rise in violence against Asian-Americans, it’s been clear that these are not random attacks. These are attacks of hatred and racism. 

  “The handling of the Atlanta shooting by stating the alleged shooter just had “a really bad day” and calling it a “sex additction” rather than a hate crime when Asian American women were obviously targeted (75% of victims were Asian American women) is disheartening. The shooting in Atlanta is just one of too many other instances occurring across the nation, and here in California, that displays the racism that exists in this nation,” said sophomore Emily Pan. 

  According to Stop AAPI Hate, there have been nearly 3,800 reports of violence targeting Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in the US since March 2020. While overall hate crimes have decreased in 2020, hate crimes against the Asian community have risen 149%.

  Social media has been a large part in spreading hate and because it’s so easy to just post a comment or share something that holds your opinions, it’s easier to generate and fuel hate. Spreading terms like the “China Virus” is planting a race-based stigma on all people of Asian descent that they are somehow to blame for this pandemic.

  “Being a Chinese American myself, there is this fear that someone will blame me, or discriminate against me in order to “seek revenge” for starting the pandemic because they’re angry at the disruptions to daily life. Terms like “China virus” only worsens the stresses Asian Americans face being a minority in America,” said Pan. 

  Advocates for the Asian American community have warned for months that inflammatory online rhetoric about COVID-19 from political leaders including former president Trump could lead to violence.

  “I remember watching the news and seeing live that former President Trump called COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus.” How can someone that many Americans look up to say something like that? Are you kidding me? The President of the United States of America is supposed to improve the lives of Americans not destroy them. I believe that Trump saying something like this started the many hate crimes towards Asian-Americans so they could “pay back” for what they did”, said Piurque.   

  What can you do? Educate yourself. Read articles, books, and historical texts to educate yourself on the systemic racism against AAPI communities. Acknowledge white privilege. Support organizations. Some organizations to support include Asian Pacific Fund COVID-19 Recovery Fund, the Asian American Journalists Association, the Asian Health Services, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian American Feminist Collective, APIENC, Stop AAPI Hate, and Heart of Dinner. Donate if you are able. Speak out, whether it be online, in protests, or conversations between your peers. 

  “There are many different things that someone can do to show support towards Asian communities. However, the most important being to educate your family, friends, and neighbors about different cultures. Starting with the younger generation, we can slowly start to change people’s views towards Asian-Americans,” said Piurque. 

  Anti-Asian violence has surged since COVID-19, but it’s also important to recognize our history, that this isn’t where the racism began. It has been deeply rooted in our country against people of color, including AAPI communities. 

  “I think that the hatred and racism that has always existed towards us has simply evolved into physical violence as a consequence of increasing societal acceptance of anti-Asian racism. What’s happening to members of the AAPI community is, to me, clearly just evidence of the belief that Asian Americans make an easy target and an easy scapegoat in tough times,” said senior Ingrid Chen. 

  This hate is not new. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the Rock Springs Massacre of 1885 to the Japanese internment camps, AAPI communities have been discriminated against throughout our history, and COVID-19 is another surgence of this racism, and needs to be the end of it. 

  “I had the honor of working with Cal Poly faculty and the History Center of SLO County on an educational website that shares primary sources of Asian American history on the Central Coast: so feel free to check out this source and others to educate yourself and your family/friends on this important topic. It can be difficult to understand how historically marginalized communities feel, but taking the initiative to educate yourself and looking beyond one’s skin color will bring us all one step closer to creating a community built on love, empathy, and respect,” said Pan. 

  BLM Community Action is hosting a peaceful rally and march on Thursday, April 1 at 4pm at Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo to stand with the AAPI community in solidarity and denounce acts of hate and racism. 

  “There is a common misconception that there is so little an individual can do to combat such a large issue. But every individual can take action and everyone has the power to make a difference. I think that starts with simply standing in solidarity with the Asian American community, and other People of Color. That includes denouncing racism and standing up for minority communities even if others are against you,” said Pan. 

  Check out for more resources to donate, organizations to learn about, recent news, links to report an incident, and other ways to act now. 

Sources:, CNN, nytimes, bbc, today

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