Ways to Offer Support this AAPI Heritage Month

By McKenzie Schwark

May marks AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Heritage Month. This last year, incidents of violence and discrimination against the AAPI community have increased. Here are some ways you can better educate yourself on the issues the AAPI community is facing, while celebrating and supporting the community far beyond just this month. 

Become familiar with the increase in hate crimes against AAPI people since the start of the pandemic

There has been an increase in action and awareness surrounding AAPI targeted hate crimes and acts of discrimination over the past year. However, incidents of violence and harassment have continued to climb. Becoming aware of and better understanding discrimination can be a powerful first step in fighting against it. On a national level, Stop AAPI Hate was formed in 2020 to better collect data and respond to acts of discrimination and violence, and released a detailed report on the recent acceleration of AAPI hate. On a local level, check out the Facebook group called North Dakota Asian Americans and Ally for those in ND and the work being done by the Asian Minnesota Alliance for Justice group in MN. 

Download this justice toolkit

The Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit is broken into three parts: Racial Justice Trainings, Our Organizations in Racial Justice Movement Moments, and Resources. The toolkit is a great place to start for organizations or individuals looking to become better educated on racial justice and better support the AAPI community. 

Take a bystander intervention course

If you witness or experience discrimination happening it’s important to know how to respond. Hollaback! provides free public bystander intervention courses that break down what to do if you witness anti-Asian harassment. 

Donate to organizations that support AAPI women

Womankind, AAPI Women Lead, and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum are a good place to start. 

For a fun, Midwest-focused opportunity, check out the Minnesota Rice virtual event. Learn about AAPI heritage and food from seven Minnesota chefs and bartenders, with 100% of ticket sales going to support the Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL).

Support small businesses 

We love these Midwestern AAPI women-owned ones (not a comprehensive list!): 

Kota Botanics offers a range of top-quality CBD products, available in Fargo, ND and online.

Chen W. Fashion and Styling by Chenyuan Woroniecki, a professional make-up artist and stylist.

Bethany Johs specializes in Vanity Fair style contemporary portraits including beauty, glamour, boudoir, personal branding, families and generations, located in Fargo, ND.

Joya by Hand is a polymer clay earring brand local to Duluth, MN.

Zen House is an authentic Japanese restaurant in Duluth, MN, started in 2006 by Yasuko-San.

These are just a few ways to get involved and support the Asian American Pacific Islander community this month. We hope you’ll pick a few of these to accomplish this month and find ways to continue your education and support throughout the year!