WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Asian American Foundation ("TAAF"), a convener, incubator, and funder for the Asian American and Pacific Islander ("AAPI") communities, today announced the launch of TAAF's Anti-Hate National Network (the "Network"), which includes AAPI Action Centers ("Action Centers") to combat anti-AAPI hate. TAAF also unveiled its AAPI Emergency Relief Fund in partnership with GoFundMe to drive the quick deployment of resources to victims of anti-AAPI hate and violence.
TAAF launched in May 2021 to solve for the longstanding lack of investment and support provided to AAPI communities. Since then, TAAF has been focusing its efforts on three strategic priorities: data and research, anti-hate, and education. TAAF is taking a dual approach to addressing the onslaught of anti-AAPI hate that continues in communities throughout America: tackling hate nationally through its Anti-Hate National Network and locally through AAPI Action Centers. TAAF aims to build a new model that brings AAPI communities together, creates a greater sense of belonging, and puts ideas into action.
To address anti-AAPI hate locally, TAAF is piloting AAPI Action Centers led by on-the-ground partner organizations that will serve as hubs for addressing hate in their respective cities. TAAF has provided funding to those lead organizations to help them grow the impact of their existing anti-hate services and engage in new programming led by TAAF. Each Action Center will be connected to each other, and they will feed into the umbrella of TAAF's Anti-Hate National Network to ensure best practices are being transmitted between the national and local levels of work. The Action Centers will engage with partners in local government, media, and business to provide resources and solidarity for communities impacted by anti-AAPI hate, and they'll work with TAAF to identify opportunities to standardize anti-hate measures for future Action Centers.
"Since our launch, we have been laser-focused on using TAAF's unique position to protect AAPI communities from hate now and in the future," said Sonal Shah, President of TAAF. "Our AAPI families, friends, and neighbors continue to be blamed for the pandemic. The launch of our Anti-Hate National Network, AAPI Action Centers, and AAPI Emergency Relief Fund is TAAF's full-throated response to the hate happening in our communities that for too long has gone unchecked. Make no mistake, we plan to unleash the resources and tools necessary to take on the crisis of hate and create a broader sense of belonging — we're just getting started."
For its AAPI Action Centers, TAAF is starting with three pilot cities, Chicago, IL, New York, NY, and Oakland, CA:
Chicago: Chinese American Service League (CASL) will serve as the Chicago AAPI Action Center and has received a grant of $500,000 from TAAF to support its Client Advocacy Unit, which includes comprehensive victim support including mental and primary health, legal services, housing, employment, and care coordination. CASL is also building its journalistic readiness program to ensure effective, impactful media coverage of anti-AAPI hate incidents. In addition, CASL will expand the work of its signature Community Equity Research Center which offers opportunities to expand cross-racial solidarity through education, advocacy, and community building.
New York City: The Asian American Federation will serve as the NYC AAPI Action Center and has received a grant of $500,000 from TAAF to support its Hope Against Hate Campaign which offers preventative safety trainings like upstander intervention and self-defense strategies, robust victim support services, and centralized ways to report assaults in order to get connected to services. The Asian American Federation is also spearheading a safety ambassador program to train volunteers in NYC to accompany AAPI community members in public places to help curb assaults and harassment.
Oakland: Asian Health Services (AHS) will serve as the Oakland AAPI Action Center and has received a grant of $500,000 from TAAF to support its high-caliber health and wellness services, as well as its advocacy for health care equity for AAPIs. As part of its Action Center offerings, AHS is providing a trauma care unit, referral linkage services, and community level interventions to counter anti-AAPI hate. TAAF is also working with AHS on its African American / Asian American Racial Trauma Project, which aims to create a body of knowledge focused on racial trauma in African American and AAPI communities in order to understand how these experiences impact race relations and emotional wellbeing.
"We are grateful for this opportunity to work with The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) as the Chicago hub in this bold, national anti-hate initiative," said Paul Luu, CEO of Chinese American Service League (CASL). "Through partnerships with city and community leaders, we will respond to incidents of hate and provide victim emergency services through our Client Advocacy Unit. We will engage with community partners to better respond to and prevent acts of hate. We will build cross racial partnerships to foster learning, safety, and security. And, we will stand together with one voice that shouts, 'Chicago will not tolerate acts of hate against any person, regardless of their race, gender, or ability.'"
"New York is one of the greatest cities in the world, so it is especially disheartening to those of us who love this city that it has become an epicenter for anti-AAPI hate," said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of The Asian American Federation. "The hate incidents AAPI New Yorkers have had to endure on the subways and streets are near-constant, and so we welcome TAAF's investment in the work being done to keep vulnerable AAPI communities safe. We're grateful that TAAF has empowered us to do more to connect our communities with critical safety resources and we are pleased to take on this important role as the city's AAPI Action Center."
"California has seen the largest proportion of anti-AAPI hate incidents in the country since the pandemic hit," said Sherry Hirota, Chief Executive Officer of Asian Health Services. "Oakland and the Bay Area have a long history of advocacy and activism. Not to be blamed or ignored, our AAPI community is strong and resilient. Racism and anti-AAPI hate are public health issues and the solutions will be long term and complex. We are in this to respond with real and practical solutions now, but also for the long haul, working within the AAPI community, and building on this region's rich legacy of coalition-building with communities of color to advocate for the health and safety of all. We are honored to join forces with TAAF and serve as Oakland's hub for fighting anti-AAPI hate."
TAAF also wants to ensure it can provide immediate, flexible support to the victims of hate incidents who are in urgent need of help. So TAAF created an AAPI Emergency Relief Fund in partnership with GoFundMe. TAAF has seeded the fund with an initial investment of $500,000 for victims of anti-AAPI hate, and partnered with GoFundMe to help grow those funds with additional community donations. To donate to the fund, please visit GoFundMe's website. For more information about the fund, please visit TAAF's website.
This Thursday, September 30, TAAF will co-host a virtual event with NextShark: "From Hate to Hope - Building a National Network for Belonging." TAAF President Sonal Shah will be joined by Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), Benny Luo, Founder & CEO of NextShark, Thu Quach of Asian Health Services, and Jo-Ann Yoo of the Asian American Federation. Amna Nawaz with PBS NewsHour will moderate the event. Please register and join us for this exciting event.
About The Asian American Foundation (TAAF)
The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) is a convener, incubator, and funder committed to accelerating opportunity and prosperity for AAPI communities. TAAF supports advocates and organizations committed to AAPI causes so that together we can more effectively take action against hate and violence, and build the infrastructure needed to improve AAPI advocacy, power, and representation across American society. We were founded to solve for the longstanding lack of investment and resources provided to AAPI communities and we strive to be a catalyzing force for creating a permanent and irrevocable sense of belonging for the 23 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in the United States. The month of its launch, TAAF announced that through its AAPI Giving Challenge and donations from its Board it raised nearly $1.1 billion — the largest philanthropic commitment in history fully focused on supporting AAPI communities. For additional information about TAAF, please visit www.taaf.org.