Reported hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have risen sharply over the past year across the United States, and people in Tulsa want to do something about it.
The Tulsa City-County Library hosted a discussion June 17, talking about what may have led to the recent anti-Asian violence around the country.
This is the 19th year the library has hosted the Asian American Festival, which usually includes colorful costumes and lessons on Asian American traditions.
Organizers said this year, the festival is all online because of the pandemic, and topics are emotional and thought-provoking due to ongoing violence against the Asian American community.
Several groups have reported that Asian hate crimes around the country surged about 150% in 2020.
"There's also a long history in the United States of violence and stereotypes toward Asian women,” said Malinda Thao, a Hmong American from Owasso.
Thao was among the five women from the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metros who were a part of the online discussion called, “Reflection, Solidarity, & Action: A Conversation Addressing Anti-Asian Hate in our Communities.”
Amy Bailey with the Tulsa City-County Library talked about how hate crimes hundreds of miles away still make her feel unsafe here at home.
"I've felt uncomfortable going into public areas like grocery stores,” Bailey said.
The panelists said the Asian American community needs allies, like the ones who gathered during Tulsa's Stop Asian Hate rally in March.
Jade Nguyen helped organize that rally and was one of the panelists.
"My parents were just taught to sort of be quiet about something like that,” said Nguyen.
She said everyone benefits when we all stand up against racism.
"How to be a good bystander, how to be a good ally, when you're close to someone or next to someone who's being racially targeted,” Nguyen said.
The next event is an online conversation about how to help if you see someone being attacked. Click here for the event.
For a list of resources the library has made, click here.
For more information on the Asian American Festival, click here.