Recently, four Asian-owned Maryland restaurants were broken into and burglarized at the start of the Lunar New Year. Urban Hot Pot, Kung Fu Tea and Bonchon in the Columbia Mall, and East Moon Asian Bistro in Ellicott City were all victims of Anti-Asian xenophobic hate crimes. These harmful events are not only happening in our backyard. Over the past year, we have been witnessing a dramatic uptick, by 1900%, in Anti-Asian xenophobic hate crimes against the broader Asian/American, Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. In particular, East Asian Americans and immigrants have been repeatedly blamed for the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to harm, exclusion, and emotional distress.
Initiatives for Identity, Inclusion & Belonging (i3b) actively stands with our AAPI community, and strongly denounces hate and violence in all its forms. We know that toxic misinformed scapegoating has dangerous impacts on marginalized communities, like the ones we see now and throughout our country’s history. It’s more than just a broken window or harmful anti-AAPI jokes, these events symbolize patterns and are symptomatic of systemic racism and xenophobia. We also know that daily experiences with racism and xenophobia can lead to racial trauma, excessive stress, hypervigilance, physical illness, and so much more.
To our AAPI community, we see you, you matter, and we are here to offer support in any way that we can. Your pain is not going unseen or unheard. Please reach out to us as you feel comfortable. Stay tuned for continued conversations from i3b in the upcoming weeks highlighting our AAPI community. You can also connect with the Asian American Faculty and Staff Council on myUMBC and find this post on Instagram (@umbc_i3b).