How You Can Support AAPI Writing Communities Today
Discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community has increased drastically since the pandemic began. The “Stop AAPI Hate” initiative was launched in March of 2020, and they have reported 3,975 hate incidents between March 19 and Feb. 28 against Asian Americans. This statistic is a heart-breaking reminder of the prevalence of racism and injustice in our community and the need for action.
As readers and writers, one of the things we can do to support the AAPI community is listen to the experiences of Asian Americans and learn from their stories as we seek positive change and representation for marginalized voices. We can support organizations and movements that amplify Asian American voices as well as add AAPI literature to our own reading lists and book clubs. As we continue to educate ourselves and others, we will learn how to be better advocates for justice and what actions we can take to raise awareness and fight for change in our communities and our country.
The Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW)
AAWW’s mission is to give Asian American writers a safe space to reflect on their experiences with discrimination and injustice.
AAWW provides several resources, including workshops and fellowships, that seek to nurture writers and give them a space to connect and grow in their own literary voice and style. Through podcasts, reading series, and their digital magazine, The Margins, AAWW is working hard to promote representation and awareness as they bring together literature, learning, social justice, and community.
Donations to the AAWW help ensure that they have the necessary resources to continue to empower and amplify marginalized voices in the Asian American Community. Whether it’s a recurring donation or a one-time gift, the funds help pour back into the AAWW’s mission and heart for their writers.
Add AAPI Literature to your Reading List
The LA Times released an article listing over 40 books written by AAPI authors, including collections of poetry like The Galleons by Rick Barot. These books serve as a great starting point for anyone looking to better understand the voices and stories of AAPI individuals, including their experiences with discrimination and injustice.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month begins on May 1, and publishers like Penguin Random House have started to compile reading lists to celebrate AAPI culture and literature. Check in with your local library to see if they have similar resources that may also include local authors and speaking engagements. Support AAPI writers by buying and reviewing their books or starting a local book club including Asian American selections. You can also search for AAPI-owned bookstores to support: here is a list to get you started.
Take a Look at the ‘Stand up For AAPI’ Campaign
Asian American authors Michelle Jocson and Suzanne Park created a campaign on Instagram using the hash-tag #StandUpForAAPI to help raise awareness, advocate for representation, and provide the writing community with calls to action. Along with other Asian American writers and bookstore owners, Jocson educates her readers and gives practical tips for supporting the AAPI community by highlighting Asian American businesses and organizations as well as providing resources that educate and equip readers to call for representation in their local communities as well through boutiques, books, and businesses.
This list only scratches the surface, and it’s important to remember that AAPI voices matter always—not just during newsworthy days or months. Let’s learn from and support the Asian American community through the content we read, the ways we interact with our community, and the actions we take to encourage social justice and inclusion.