The bias, bigotry, and racism that continue to afflict our society, and that have surged during the pandemic, have had a devastating impact on the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community including its small business owners.
Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition formed at the beginning of the pandemic as a response to the increase in discrimination and racial violence, has documented over 2,808 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian incidents nationwide between March and December 2020.
In recent weeks, there has been a sharp rise in assaults on older Asian Americans. On January 28, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was knocked to the ground and killed while walking in his San Francisco neighborhood; just three days later, in Oakland, an assailant violently knocked a 91-year-old man to the ground and later attacked an older man and woman. On February 3 in New York City, where the police department reported that anti-Asian hate crimes rose by 1,900% last year, Noel Quintana, 61, was viciously assaulted by another passenger on a subway, requiring almost 100 stitches; and on the same day in Oakland, a 71-year-old grandmother was knocked to the ground while crossing the street and robbed.
President Joe Biden recently called these incidents “a stain on our national character” and we at ICIC agree. All of us are part of the solution and we have an obligation to do more, to reject hatred, racism and bigotry in every form.
The AAPI community represents a critical pillar in our nation’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and between February and April last year, an estimated 233,000 or 26% of all Asian-American-owned small businesses closed and the unemployment rate jumped by more than 450% according to a McKinsey analysis. The Pew Research Center reported that Asian Americans experience the largest income inequality gap as an ethnic and racial group in the United States.
ICIC’s mission and vision include driving inclusive economic prosperity in our most under-resourced and economically-vulnerable communities as well as closing the racial wealth gap in America. We do this by supporting deeply-committed individuals, small business owners, and community leaders who are driving anti-racist behavior, inclusion, and fundamental societal change, as we have since our organization was created following the 1992 L.A. Uprising. We will not stand idly by or be silent when xenophobic behavior, violence, and racist attacks are threatening members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Please join our nationwide constituency of thought and practice leaders as well as our 15,000 ICIC alumni in addressing these challenges. We will continue to proudly serve as your ally, resource, advocate, and partner. Please consider supporting one of the following organizations that work every day to support economic, racial, and social justice.
ICIC drives inclusive economic prosperity in under-resourced communities through innovative research and programs to create jobs, income, and wealth for local residents.
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