May 25, 2023 Blog

May is AAPI Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and honor the contributions of the AAPI community to American society. Since COVID-19, however, hate crimes against members of the AAPI community have risen and according to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes targeting Asian Americans rose by nearly 150% in 2020, with women being disproportionately targeted. These crimes have been fueled by xenophobic and racist rhetoric surrounding the pandemic, as well as long-standing stereotypes and prejudices. 

The AAPI Victory Alliance report’s findings show that 70% of Asian Americans support stricter gun control measures and suggest that the community recognizes the importance of addressing the issue of gun violence in the country.

The Dayton, Ohio shooting in 2019, which claimed the lives of several Asian Americans, and the shooting in 2021 at a spa in Atlanta, GA are just two examples of the devastating impact that gun violence has had on the AAPI community in recent years. The report’s findings also highlight the impact gun violence is having on AAPI youth with an increase of 71% of youth committing suicide by firearms. 

Despite these challenges, Washington State is taking steps to not only protect the AAPI community, but all communities. The recent ban on assault-style weapons is particularly significant, as these types of firearms have been used in many of the deadliest mass shootings in the country. By enacting a permit to purchase and increasing waiting periods and training requirements, the state is taking proactive steps to reduce the risk of firearms falling into the wrong hands. By recognizing the ongoing challenges faced by the AAPI community and taking proactive steps to address the issue of gun violence, we’re taking proactive steps to protect our communities.

— CS Wright is the Director of Operations at the Alliance.