Addressing Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Discrimination and Violence

Written by Patricia Fortunato, Content Manager/Program Manager at the NeuroMusculoskeletal Institute — Rowan Medicine and Gabby McAllaster, Ph.D. Student in Education at Rowan University and Graduate Coordinator for DEI

The past several years—and longer—have been traumatizing and exhausting for many Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), and the past several days, in particular, have been such for many BIPOC who identify as Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI). Women, femme people, trans people, those who are undocumented, those who are working survival jobs, and other marginalized identities intersecting with AAPI identities may be feeling particularly affected. The United States' longstanding ignorance concerning discrimination against BIPOC, particularly Black, Indigenous, and women of color (BIWOC) and AAPI women and other marginalized intersecting identities, has resulted in a series of violent murders wherein eight people including six Asian women (of which four victims were of Korean descent) were murdered by a white male. We mourn with the victims' loved ones and remember their names: Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Suncha Kim, 69; Delaina Ashley Yaun González, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; and Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, who was seriously injured and survived.

*The Asian American Journalists Association developed a video pronunciation guide with native speakers of Mandarin and Korean, to support journalists and the general public with accurate pronunciations of the Chinese- and Korean-language names of the six victims who were of Asian descent.

Our fear and exhaustion give way to a resounding frustration knowing that recently, discrimination against Asian and Asian American people can be traced to the start of the COVID–19 pandemic, when former President Donald J. Trump propagated rising discrimination and violence against AAPI through the use of terms breeding disinformation such as "China virus" and "Chinese virus" and continued blame of the spread of COVID–19 on China, Asia, and people of Chinese and Asian descent in general.

As incidents of discrimination and violence increased during the pandemic, San Francisco State University's Asian American Studies Department, in partnership with the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council and the organization Chinese for Affirmative Action, launched the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center on March 19, 2020. The Center has been tracking incidents nationally since the start of the pandemic, and as of February 28, 2021, has tracked 3,795 incidents including and not limited to verbal harassment, physical assault, and civil rights violations. The majority of these incidents have targeted women, with women reporting hate incidents 2.3 times more than men, and people of Chinese descent as the largest ethnic group reporting experiencing hate at 42.2% followed by people of Korean descent at 14.8%.

Similarly, California State University's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism released data earlier this month that revealed hate crimes against Asian American people increased nationally from 49 reported crimes in 2019 to 122 reported crimes in 2020, resulting in a 149% increase despite hate crimes decreasing 7% overall during the same timeframe. The Center's report also reveals that Google searches for racist terms including and not limited to "China virus" and "Kung flu" increased dramatically throughout 2020.

It is critical to note that these numbers are likely a small subset of discriminatory incidents and hate crimes against AAPI, as there exist many barriers to disclosing and reporting. These barriers include and are not limited to trauma, stigma, language barriers, immigration status, and mistrust of the justice system. Given the Atlanta perpetrator's statement to investigators, it is also critical to recognize the dehumanization of AAPI women that exists in our nation, including hypersexualization and fetishization, and note its linkage to colonialism in Asian countries and stereotypes that exist and are perpetuated in schools, workplaces, and social situations.

Korean American author R.O. Kwon wrote a powerful letter to fellow Asian women for Vanity Fair, excerpted below.

"Some of these failures have come from the people closest to us. So many white friends, family members, colleagues, partners, in-law relatives, and teachers have brushed away, minimized, or entirely ignored our growing alarm. One of the first white men with whom I brought up rising anti-Asian racism replied by asking if this racism was really even happening. I had just told him it was. The silences this week ring loud, in the texts we haven't received, in the absences on social media, as the people who say they deeply love us, who have heard us talk about this, fail to wonder if we're okay, fail to see if in this time of great collective sorrow it might be a good time to offer us some of that love.

. . .

It hurts. It all hurts. Still and always, hypersexualized, ignored, gaslit, marginalized, and disrespected as we've been, I am so fortified, so alive, when I'm with us. And I am thankful to the many other people, especially our Black and brown siblings who live with systemic injustice, unending police violence, and profound marginalization, who know to extend us their love, along with at least some white people. Recently, I was talking with a close friend, the writer Ingrid Rojas Contreras, about some of the complications of our lives as women of color, and she said, in a moment that felt like a cloud breaking, like clarity, 'We matter to me.' You matter to me, we matter to me, and I would so much rather have us and our allies on our side than any of them. For we already belong."

Addressing the pandemic-related rise in AAPI discrimination and violence, five days prior to the tragedies in Atlanta, Congresswoman Grace Meng and Senator Mazie K. Hirono introduced legislation to combat the issues, this being in addition to Senator Hirono's previously introduced legislation addressing issues surrounding immigration status and lack of medical care. The COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act would assign a point person employee in the U.S. Department of Justice to expedite the review of violence and hate crimes related to the pandemic and targeted at AAPI, and the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act would support immigrant communities regardless of immigration status, including and not limited to modifying policies, ensuring that everyone regardless of lack of medical insurance has access to COVID–19 testing, treatment, and vaccinations, and funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide multilingual access and public outreach for people with limited English proficiencies and those with disabilities.

Furthermore, on March 31, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., announced new actions to address anti-Asian violence, xenophobia, and bias, also recognizing the violence and xenophobia perpetrated against Asian American women and girls. Actions to respond to the increasing anti-Asian violence, and to protect and advance safety, inclusion, and belonging for all AAPI, expound upon the President's Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States issued upon his first week in office. The President has called upon Congress to pass the aforementioned COVID–19 Hate Crimes Act, and has installed a diverse Administration wherein 15 percent of all appointees identify as AAPI, recognizing the importance of representation for AAPI women, girls, and all who identify as the racial group in the nation. New actions announced on March 31, 2021 include the following critical steps.

The President will reinstate and reinvigorate the White House Initiative on AAPI with initial focus on anti-Asian bias and violence, particularly at the intersection of gender-based violence. The initiative will have a mandate to expand and promote inclusion, belonging, and opportunity for all AAPI communities. The President will also appoint a permanent Director to lead the charge in coordination of policies across the Federal Government.

The President will designate funding for AAPI survivors of intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault, with the Department of Health and Human Services allocating $49.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to a new grant for culturally relevant and specific programs for survivors of intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault who may struggle with further barriers to lifesaving services and a continuum of care, including language barriers.

The President will establish a COVID–19 Equity Task Force committee on ending xenophobia against Asian Americans, expanding on his Executive Order on Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery on January 21, 2021. To execute this critical work for Asian Americans, the Task Force has established a subcommittee on Structural Drivers of Health Inequity and Xenophobia and will provide recommendations to ensure the Federal Government's response to the pandemic effectively mitigates anti-Asian bias and xenophobia per the President's Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The subcommittee will also advance health equity for specific AAPI communities who have been disproportionately infected by and died from COVID–19, leading "policy sprints" for advancing cultural competency and inclusion for all AAPI.

The President has established and will continue a Department of Justice "whole agency" initiative to effectively address anti-Asian violence. Actions to date include the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division re-convening of the Department's Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative focused on increased hate crimes against AAPI; the Federal Bureau of Investigation working to publish an imminent hate crimes page on its Crime Data Explorer website, highlighting reports of anti-Asian crimes and supporting researchers and communities as they seek to measure national statistics, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation integrating scenario-based training on anti-Asian bias and hate crimes for all state and local partners; the Department of Justice removing language barriers on its hate crimes website and ensuring information is accessible in the languages of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese; the Department of Justice partnering with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association on a discussion with its 50,000 members focused on improving responses to anti-Asian hate incidents; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's efforts to begin providing nationwide civil rights trainings on recognizing and reporting anti-Asian bias and hate crimes.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has launched a virtual library of federally-funded projects that celebrate Asian Americans' contributions and commitment to the U.S., with resources for families, civic leaders, educators, and arts and humanities organizations to explore the diversity of Asian American history, and address the history of and ongoing anti-Asian discrimination and racism in the nation.

The National Science Foundation is presently supporting more than $33 million across 100 national grants, with diverse investigators advancing research and innovation to effectively reduce discrimination experienced by historically underrepresented groups, and reduce targeting of, harm, and violence towards historically underrepresented communities and individuals including AAPI.

Together as a University community, within DEI and across campuses, we will continue to do the work that is rooted in anti-discrimination and anti-racism. We will work to address the emotional impact that the pandemic and its related incidents of discrimination, violence, and hate crimes have had on students, faculty, staff, and larger communities who identify as AAPI. Below please find information and resources for those who identify as AAPI, for individuals working towards allyship, and for health care professionals seeking to understand the issues and provide culturally competent care.

AAPI Community Graphic Designed by Patricia Fortunato

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Asia: Asia is the world's largest and most densely populated continent. Be aware of the differences in geographical areas: North Asia (Russia), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), Western Asia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Sinai Peninsula, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen), South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka), East Asia (China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan), and Southeast Asia (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor, Vietnam).

Asian: The term "Asian" concerns the people, culture, and customs related to the continent of Asia. The term "oriental" is offensive and should not be used as a synonym.

BIPOC: "BIPOC" is an acronym for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. The term acknowledges how violence against Black and Indigenous people is foundational to the U.S., as the founding and expansion of this country relied on slavery and genocide. The term also blurs the differences between the two groups it is meant to center, as belonging as a "member" of each group is and historically has been different—with the one-drop rule of antebellum and Jim Crow South assigning anyone with as much as "one drop" of Black heritage to automatically be considered Black, but requiring those of Indigenous heritage to prove they have "enough" Indigenous heritage to belong to the group. 

BIWOC: "BIWOC" is an acronym for Black, Indigenous, and women of color.

Cultural Appropriation: Taking and benefiting from the expression, ideas, artifacts, etc. of another culture without permission, often done by the dominant culture. This is not a cultural exchange, which requires mutual consent and respect.

Desi: "Desi" is an evolving term used to describe the people, cultures, and products of the Indian subcontinent and their diaspora to describe their unique experiences and to address colorism within the Asian community.

Immigrant: An immigrant is a person who moves to another country, usually for permanent residence. They may or may not be citizens. The terms "foreigner," "illegal immigrant," and "alien" are offensive and should not be used as synonyms.

Institutional Racism: The ways in which the structures, systems, policies, and procedures of institutions are founded upon and then promote, reproduce, and perpetuate advantages for the dominant group and the oppression of disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

International: The appropriate term to use for students who obtain a non-immigrant visa such as a student visa or an exchange visitor visa.

IntersectionalityA theoretical concept describing the interconnection of oppressive institutions and identities.

Misogyny and Trans-Misogyny: Misogyny is a general hatred and hostility towards women. Trans-misogyny is the same hatred, targeted at trans-feminine people.

Person of Color, or People of Color: "Person of Color" and "People of Color" are umbrella terms for anyone who is non-white. The use of the term "colored" is offensive and should not be used as a synonym. The terms "ethnic" and "urban" also have negative undertones and likewise, should not be used as synonyms.

Racism: Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed toward someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of society, and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices. 

Refugee: A refugee is a person forced to flee their country due to violence or persecution. The term "migrant" may be offensive in some contexts.

Sexism: A system of beliefs or attitudes which regulates women to limited roles and/or options because of their sex. It centers on the idea that women are inferior to men.

Victim Blaming: Victim blaming occurs when victims/survivors are silenced, shamed, and/or held responsible, even partially, for a crime. It is critically important to affirm victims/survivors and avoid statements including and not limited to, "Don't think about it," "Why didn't you leave?," and "Why didn't you fight back?"

Xenophobia: A fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners.

Coping Strategies for AAPI Identities:

1. Unapologetically allow yourself to take time and make space for grief during this difficult time

You do not need permission to feel fear, sadness, grief, anger, and/or numbness. You may find yourself feeling "guilty" for not responding to social media messages, etc., in a timely manner. However, your psychological safety and emotional wellbeing, which may include a period of rest, is priority. Know that everyone reacts to tragedy and trauma in different ways. When you are feeling safe, express your grief and feelings in healthy forms such as reaching out to the people closest to you to seek the love that you may need during this time, and/or writing in a journal.

2. Seek out support from loved ones and other AAPI individuals and communities

The Rowan University community of support for AAPI identities is listed below.

3. Seek to engage in advocacy and empower yourself and others

Seek to engage in advocacy and empower yourself and others who identify as AAPI by acting with agency and participating in actions to solve issues. Advocacy organizations and movements that you may wish to support are listed below.

Rowan University Community of Support for AAPI Identities:

I Am Asian: All Rowan University students who identify as Asian are invited to join I Am Asian, a support group organized by the Wellness Center.

I Am Asian Support Group Flyer

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Wellness CenterAll Rowan University students are encouraged to access mental health resources and support through the Wellness Center, by calling 856.256.4333 or emailing 

Employee Advisory ServiceAll Rowan University faculty and staff are encouraged to access mental health resources and support by contacting the Employee Advisory Service. Schedule a session by calling 1.866.327.9133

Student clubs to join include the Asian Cultural AssociationSouth Asian Students AssociationRowan RangeelaJapanese Culture ClubVietnamese Students AssociationRowan University Philippine American CoalitionWomen of Color AllianceMen of Color AllianceMinority Association of Premedical StudentsInternational Club, and Muslim Student Association.

Women of Color Collective (WCC): WCC aims to build community among women, womyn, and womxn of color on campus. Through WCC, women, womyn, and womxn of color will gain a network to share their stories and provide support for challenges and successes they experience in their daily lives. WCC is for all women, womyn, and womxn of color across campus. The spring semester theme is "Love and Its Many Types and Facets." Please contact SJICR for virtual meeting dates and details.

RU Student Diversity Committee: Rowan University PhD and MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling students and student clinicians who may be seeking peer support, and who identify as BIPOC, are invited to join the RU Student Diversity Committee. Please contact Danika Charles at for virtual meetings dates and details.

For all student complaints involving discrimination and harassment, please visit

Mental Health, Substance Use Disorder, and Crisis Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: If you are in distress and would like free, confidential crisis counseling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255. More than 150 languages are offered on the lifeline. Note: You do not have to be suicidal to call.

Asian LifeNet Hotline: If you are in distress and would like free, confidential crisis counseling in the specific languages of Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, or Fujianese, call the Asian LifeNet Hotline at 1.877.990.8585

Crisis Text Line: If you are in distress and would like free, confidential crisis counseling via text message, text HOME to the number 741741

SAMHSA National Helpline: If you are experiencing issues with mental health and/or substance use disorders, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline is a free, confidential information service and treatment referral. Call 1.800.662.4357

The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides free, confidential, immediate support and essential tools to enable victims to find safety. Call 1.800.799.7233

Other Mental Health Resources:

The Asian Mental Health Collective raises awareness about mental health care within Asian communities, and offers online directories of mental health professionals who identify as Asian in the U.S. and Canada.

Inclusive Therapists is a social justice movement founded by licensed marriage and family therapist Melody Li to destigmatize and expand mental health care to people with marginalized identities. Patients can search for a therapist by insurance, specialties, and identity.

Inclusive Therapy Instagram

(Image via @inclusivetherapists)

The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association supports mental health and wellness for AAPI communities through resources and training. The organization offers an online directory of service providers across the nation.

The Asian American Psychological Association is dedicated to supporting mental health needs in Asian American communities through research, education, clinical practice, and policy. The organization offers an online resource guide concerning racism, self-care, and caregiving during the pandemic.

Towards Allyship:

1. Self-education

The distressing rise in anti-Asian discrimination, violence, and hate crimes has been largely fueled by racist sentiments surrounding the pandemic. Anti-Asian racism and xenophobia are not new phenomena. It is critical that we understand how this racism has endured in the U.S. in the past—through policies and social behaviors—so that we can progress in thoroughly addressing and eradicating this racism.

2. Speak up and out, and hold others accountable for their language, stereotypes, and racism

"Towards allyship" within anti-racism work means acknowledging harmful language and centering the AAPI experience. As an ally/accomplice, you can leverage your privilege(s) to have difficult conversations. For example, if someone refers to COVID–19 as the "Chinese virus," you can state, "Let's unpack why you believe that the virus is someone's fault." You can continue the conversation to explain why words matter, and why stereotypes are harmful, given the long history of discrimination and racism that the AAPI community has suffered and continues to suffer.

3. Avoid reinforcing stereotypes in the classroom and workplace

Structural Anti-Asian racism has long contributed to the "model minority" myth. The myth is a widespread stereotype that people who identify as Asian are more educated, healthier, and belong to a higher socioeconomic status as compared to other racially minoritized groups. The harmful stereotype is rooted in anti-Blackness, in which the myth has been strategically used to oppose racial activism, particularly during the Civil Rights Movement. It homogenizes individuals who identify as AAPI and contributes to ignorance of systemic inequity and disparities, and lack of access to resources including social services. In education, students, faculty, and staff continue to experience discrimination, harassment, racial isolation, and overall stigma embodied in the myth. For example, white educators may assume that students who identify as AAPI do not need the further assistance of tutoring, mental health support, and other support programs. This harmful assumption can lead to students who identify as AAPI not receiving access to resources that they may need. As an ally/accomplice, continue to unpack the "model minority" myth and reflect on the ways in which you have contributed to stereotypes, biases, and exclusionary practices.

4. Support AAPI-owned restaurants and businesses

Since the start of the pandemic, Chinese-owned restaurants and other Asian-owned restaurants have experienced a loss in profits, related to the pandemic and discrimination and violence propagated against AAPI. Please support AAPI-owned local restaurants and businesses, and encourage loved ones to do the same. Rowan University staff and student recommendations of local restaurants and businesses include Tokyo MandarinHunan EastKing WongHan DynastyLucky ChopstixDolsot HouseTomo SushiThai ThaiThai TerraceLai Thai CuisineBangkok CityViet PhoLittle Pond Golf Center, and Envy Nail Spa.

Resources for Continued Learning:


Register for #StopAsianHate: Leading Anti-Racist Efforts in Organizations, a conversation with Lily Zheng, DEI consultant, on "processing trauma at work, leading anti-racist efforts, and how to combat Anti-Asian violence and discrimination." The virtual event date is Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 1 pm EDT.

Register for virtual Bystander Intervention Trainings, led by the organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice, to combat the rise in discrimination and violence affecting AAPI victims. Training webinars are one-hour, interactive online formats, during which time participants will learn about "the types of disrespect and dangers that Asian and Asian American folks are facing right now and throughout history—from microaggressions to violence, what to look for in scenarios and the positive impact that bystander intervention has on individuals and communities, talk through five strategies (5Ds) for intervention and how to prioritize your own safety while intervening, [and] practice using the 5Ds so that participants are confident intervening the next time they witness Anti-Asian harassment."

Other Events:

Register for Women Warriors: A Solidarity Reading, led by the Asian American Writers' Workshop, a "marathon reading featuring a powerhouse collective of Asian American women. In the aftermath of the horrific murders in Atlanta, GA, we offer this space as one for grieving, healing, and empowering. During a time marked by tragedy, anger, and loss, we look to our artistry to find and celebrate the resilience and brilliance of each and every woman warrior." The virtual event date is Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 7 pm EDT.


Stop AAPI Hate is a reporting center website, tracking incidents of discrimination and violence against AAPI since the start of the pandemic.

The Asian American Journalists' Association developed media guidance for coverage of the Atlanta murders and anti-Asian incidents of discrimination, violence, and hate crimes.

AAPI Data publishes demographic data and policy research on AAPI communities.


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Instagram Accounts:

Stop AAPI Hate is a coalition addressing anti-Asian hate during the pandemic.

Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council is a coalition of community-based organizations advocating for the rights and needs of AAPI.

Chinese for Affirmative Action works for systemic change and advocates for racial justice and immigrant rights.

Asian Mental Health Collective is building a community for mental health support in Asian communities.

Subtle Asian Mental Health is a private Facebook group and part of the Asian Mental Health Collective.

Inclusive Therapists is a social justice movement founded by licensed marriage and family therapist Melody Li to destigmatize and expand mental health care to people with marginalized identities.

Asians for Mental Health (Dr. Jenny Wang, licensed clinical psychologist) is dedicated to mental health and social justice.

Brown Girl Therapy is a mental health community for the children of immigrants, founded by Sahaj Kaur Kohli.

Project Lotus is a youth-led community working to "destigmatize mental health in Asian-American communities by tackling the model minority stereotype through culturally-relevant education for the community and the empowerment of voices," providing resources for young people who identify as Asian American and who may be struggling with discussing issues surrounding mental health with loved ones.

Chanel Miller is a writer and artist.

Yumi Sakugawa is a comic artist.

MILCK is a singer–songwriter.

Jenny Yang is a comic and writer.

Jas Charanjiva is an artist, activist, and entrepreneur.

Angry Asian Feminist is an Instagram account dedicated to learning and unlearning, and intersectional feminism.

#Asians4BlackLives supports the safety, justice, and resilience of Black communities.

Queer Asian Social Club is a collective empowering community through queer Asian/Pacific Islander/Southwest Asian/Desi visibility.

Welcome to Chinatown is a grassroots initiative supporting Chinatown businesses in New York City, working to amplify community voices and preserve the neighborhood.

Asian American Collective is a community of Asian people in music, media, entertainment, and creative spaces.

Asian Art Museum features an expansive collection from its location in San Francisco.

New Jersey and Local Groups to Support:

The Center for Asian Health and Chinese Health Initiative at Saint Barnabas Medical Center offers culturally relevant medical care and is based in Northern New Jersey. 

The Chinese American Mental Health Outreach Program in New Jersey is a National Alliance on Mental Illness initiative to serve immigrants from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other regions and countries.

The South Asian Mental Health Awareness in Jersey is a National Alliance on Mental Illness initiative to serve South Asians of Asian Indian and Pakistani descent, and those from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives.

Manavi is a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization with the goal of empowering South Asian women survivors of sexual violence.

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice protects the human, civil, and labor rights of immigrants in New Jersey spanning documented immigrants and those seeking status.

Asian Americans United exists so that people of Asian descent in Philadelphia can build culture, community, leadership, and challenge oppression.

The Asian Arts Initiative is a multidisciplinary arts center in Philadelphia's Chinatown North, dedicated to exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, and workshops for youth.

The Southeast Asia Mutual Assistance Association Coalition supports immigrants and refugees in the Greater Philadelphia area through education, organizing, and advocacy.

National Groups to Support:

The Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum influences policy and mobilizes communities to improve AAPI health.

The National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum utilizes a reproductive justice framework to elevate AAPI women and drive systemic change in the areas of reproductive health and rights, economic justice, and immigrant rights and racial justice.

The GABRIELA National Alliance of Women has extended the Filipino women's mass movement to the U.S., campaigning on issues including and not limited to gender discrimination and reproductive justice.

Womankind empowers Asian survivors of gender-based violence.

The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center empowers Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese American communities to develop an equitable society while standing with other refugees and BIPOC communities pursuing social equity.

SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Coalition is based in Atlanta and builds networks of individuals and organizations to improve the reproductive health care of marginalized communities.

The Asian American Feminist Collective engages in intersectional feminist movements within AAPI communities. In their words, "Asian/American feminism is an ever-evolving practice that seeks to address the multi-dimensional ways Asian/American people confront systems of power at the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, disability, migration history, citizenship and immigration status. We are indebted to ways Black feminist thought and Third World feminist movements enable us to think and act critically through our own positionalities to address systems of anti-Black racism, settler colonialism, and xenophobia."

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance builds capacities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender AAPI groups, in addition to developing leadership, educating the community, grassroots organizing, and combating anti-LGBTQ bias.

The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development works to support and improve the lives of over two million AAPI individuals living in poverty worldwide.

The Asian Pacific Environmental Network builds community-owned renewable sources of energy and protects affordable housing.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is the national affiliation of five organizations working for civil and human rights of AAPI and other communities.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund works with communities across the U.S., focusing on issues including and not limited to immigrant rights, housing justice, educational equity, and the elimination of anti-Asian discrimination, violence, police misconduct, and human trafficking.

The Asian Prisoner Support Committee organizes anti-deportation campaigns and develops culturally competent reentry programs.

The Detention Watch Network builds power through advocacy, grassroots organizing, and strategic communications for the abolition of immigration detention.

The Sikh Coalition works to protect the constitutional right to practice religion without fear.

The Council on American–Islamic Relations empowers Muslim American communities through civil rights advocacy.

The Asian American Journalists Association advances visibility and inclusion of AAPI journalists in newsrooms and their leadership, and works for accurate and equitable coverage of AAPI issues in the media.

The Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association addresses issues important to AAPI medical students, promotes the health of AAPI communities and provides understanding of how to care for patients with cultural competency and sensitivity, and serves as a forum for medical students to meet, network, and develop as professionals.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association established pro bono legal resources to ensure that AAPI can address the rising incidents of discrimination, violence, and hate crimes effecting their communities.

The South Asian Bar Association of North America provides professional development opportunities and promotes equity and justice for the South Asian community.

Articles on AAPI Barriers to Mental Health Care, and Resources for Health Care Professionals:

Discrimination, violence, and hate crimes against AAPI may negatively affect the mental health of those directly affected by these incidents in addition to bystanders and anyone who identifies as AAPI. It is critical to note that SAMHSA data reveals that adults who identify as AAPI are the racial group who are least likely to seek and utilize mental health care, and are three times less likely than whites to do so. 

Similar to barriers that exist that prevent individuals who identify as AAPI from disclosing and reporting discrimination, violence, and hate crimes, there exist barriers that prevent the racial group from seeking and utilizing mental health care. These include and are not limited to stigma that is associated with discussing mental health-related issues in many Asian cultures, in addition to the harmful "model minority" stereotypehigh costs of health care and high rates of uninsurance and underinsurance, immigration status, and insufficient cultural competency and bias that exists among health care professionals.

These difficulties, and a widespread lack of awareness within AAPI communities of resources and treatment options, are some of the largest deterrents in seeking professional care. As such, health care professionals, public health researchers, and health equity advocates must do more to destigmatize and normalize mental health care for AAPI communities. Below please find relevant literature concerning barriers and stigma, and resources focused on cultural competency within the field.

Shahid, M., Weiss, N. H., Stoner, G., & Dewsbury, B. (2021). Asian Americans' mental health help-seeking attitudes: The relative and unique roles of cultural values and ethnic identityAsian American Journal of Psychology.

Park, C. J., Kim, C., Nguyen, N. C. Y., Tran, A. T., Chiang, A., Rho, S. J., … & Cho, M. K. (2021). Use of Korean dramas to facilitate precision mental health understanding and discussion for Asian AmericansHealth Promotion International.

Dong, H., Dai, J., Lipson, S. K., & Curry, L. (2020). Help-seeking for mental health services in Asian American college students: an exploratory qualitative studyJournal of American College Health, 1-8.

Huang, E. R., & Hall, G. C. N. (2020). The invisibility of Asian Americans in the United States: Impact on mental and physical health. In Prejudice, Stigma, Privilege, and Oppression (pp. 91-106). Springer, Cham.

Naito, T., Chin, J., Kim, T. U., Veera, S., Jeannette, M., & Lomiguen, C. M. (2020). Further Reduction in Help-Seeking Behaviors Amidst Additional Barriers to Mental Health Treatment in Asian Populations: A Contemporary ReviewCureus12(11).

Green, J. G., McLaughlin, K. A., Fillbrunn, M., Fukuda, M., Jackson, J. S., Kessler, R. C., … & Alegría, M. (2020). Barriers to mental health service use and predictors of treatment drop out: Racial/ethnic variation in a population-based studyAdministration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 1-11.

Kim, G., Wang, S. Y., Park, S., & Yun, S. W. (2020). Mental Health of Asian American Older Adults: Contemporary Issues and Future DirectionsInnovation in Aging4(5), igaa037.

Saraiya, T., Smith, K. Z., Campbell, A. N. C., & Hien, D. (2019). Posttraumatic stress symptoms, shame, and substance use among Asian AmericansJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment96, 1-11.

Chen, J. A., Stevens, C., Wong, S. H., & Liu, C. H. (2019). Psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses among US college students: A comparison by race and ethnicityPsychiatric Services70(6), 442-449.

American Psychiatric Association. (2019.) Treating Asian Americans. Stress & Trauma Toolkit for Treating Historically Marginalized Populations in a Changing Political and Social Environment.

American Psychiatric Association. (2019.) Treating Undocumented Immigrants. Stress & Trauma Toolkit for Treating Historically Marginalized Populations in a Changing Political and Social Environment.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). Improving Cultural Competence. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series No. 59. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4849.