While President Biden has vowed to ramp up efforts to combat anti-Asian violence in the country and as attacks sadly continue to occur on a regular basis, there is at least one bit of hopeful news to report over this dark chapter in America’s history.
Haleluya Hadero of The Associated Press has reported that donations and contributions intended to fight anti-Asian racism in the country have soared over the past few weeks.
“About $25.8 million has been pledged for such groups or causes by nearly 30 philanthropic donors in the aftermath of the shooting, according to a preliminary analysis that the philanthropy research group Candid shared with The Associated Press,” Hadero reported. “By comparison, only $595,000 had been committed this year before the attacks. For all of 2020, the group’s latest data shows that about $54 million was directed to Asian American groups or causes.”
And that number could be significantly higher because Candid only tracks sizable pledges and donations made by philanthropists and other donors to organizations representing Asian Americans. Since the surge of anti-Asian violence, small donations provided to organizations as well as other crowdfunding contributions made directly to the families of victims (such as San Francisco’s Xiao Zhen Xie, who received just under $1 million in donations through a GoFundMe page set up by her grandson but is donating it all to charity) have also been on the rise.
According to Candid representatives, most of the donations the group has seen “have been corporate commitments falling under $500,000.”
Hadero reported that “the largest [donation] came from the telecommunications company Verizon at $15 million, of which $5 million is committed to the civil rights group Asian Americans Advancing Justice; the advocacy group National Council of Asian Pacific Americans; and the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship, which advocates for the business interests of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”
Healthcare company Kaiser Permanente (a Fair360, formerly DiversityInc Hall of Fame company) has also approved a $5.4 million donation aiming “to combat the surge in violence against people of Asian descent.”
“A bulk of the commitments to Asian American groups are for a GoFundMe page that is raising money for 14 organizations, including the Georgia chapter of the nonprofit National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum,” Hadero added. Elizabeth Kari, daughter of Vilma Kari, the 65-year-old female victim of a racially motivated attack outside of a luxury New York City apartment building, created a GoFundMe on March 31 to help her mother’s rehabilitation. Less than one day of donations, Kari raised over $80,000 — quadruple the initial goal of $20,000.
Still, despite the increase in donations and awareness, advocates warn that more advocacy still needs to be done and many within the Asian American community are hurting.
Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, told the AP that, “typically, emergency-response donors are not sustainable donors. They’re generous in the moment and then move on.”
“Our challenge, not only in fundraising but across our programmatic work, is to keep interest in our cause high,” Choimorrow added. “This is the first time Asian American and Pacific Islander women are being heard, and we don’t want to relinquish that megaphone.”