Grants to Stop AAPI Hate
May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, and I am happy to celebrate with a historic state investment in our AAPI community.
I recently stood on Geary Boulevard in front of the Jackie Chan Senior Center to proudly announce that $14.2 million in Stop AAPI Hate grants have been distributed to 80 deserving organizations throughout California. This will help them combat the rising number of attacks targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
It was a momentous occasion because state funding specifically for the AAPI community has been absent and is long overdue. We need it now more than ever. As chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I worked hard securing the $166.5 million API Equity Budget last year, so it’s gratifying to see an initial round of grants from that allocation go to deserving organizations committed to carrying out the important work of stopping AAPI hate.
The grants will help provide victims with essential services and resources, as well as strengthen violence prevention programs. This is a necessary step toward creating a safer environment for all Californians.
Joining me in the celebration were Supervisors Connie Chan and Gordon Mar, as well as representatives from Self Help for the Elderly, Community Youth Center, Richmond Area Multi-Services Inc., Chinese Progressive Action, Chinatown Community Development Center, Asian Health Services and the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. In all, more than $4.1 million went to Bay Area non-profits.
From the start of the pandemic through the end of last year, nearly 11,000 incidents of hate across the country have been reported to the national Stop AAPI Hate website (stopaapihate.org). The surge in attacks has been attributed to people wrongly blaming a community for COVID-19 as a result of racist rhetoric from a former president. The cases range in severity, from verbal assaults to seniors being pushed to the ground violently. In one instance close to home, an unprovoked shove led to the death of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee, who was simply on his morning walk around his Anza Vista neighborhood last year.
The grant recipients doing work in Assembly District 19 have already been doing impactful work addressing AAPI Hate. I’ve known their leaders for years, and these state funds will certainly further their mission. One of the organizations, Self Help for the Elderly, will use its grant to expand senior escort services to San Mateo County, parts of which are included in our Assembly District. The program has worked well in San Francisco, alleviating fears among our older AAPI members as they go to the bank, post office and medical appointments.
Another recipient, Community Youth Center, will provide culturally competent support services for victims of anti-Asian violence and their families. And Richmond Area Multi-Services Inc. will take 10 high-potential youth from under-resourced communities on a road trip across the country to learn about racial history, leadership, advocacy and cultural understanding.
I can’t wait to see the results of these state investments. Round two of the grants will be announced this summer, so stay tuned.
Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the west side of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.