A Chicago nonprofit is taking on the initiative to track anti-Asian hate and other violent crimes targeting the Asian community in the Midwest after receiving special funding.
Abbey Eusebio and her colleagues at the Chinese American Service League have been gathering the data.
“Here in the Midwest we have a serious lack of data around anti-Asian hate anti-Asian violence compare to the rest of the country. So, it really is upon our community advocates to really address that head on,” said CASL’s Anti-Hate Action Center Manager Abbey Eusebio. “In order to have the data we’re able to really have a better, accurate picture of actually the scope of the issue.”
National data shows hate crimes against the Asian American community increased by 339% in 2021. Many of those crimes were reported in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
“I think what’s more troubling about that, despite that 339% increase -- 30% of Americans didn’t know there was an increase or even falsely believe that attacks have gone down," said Director of the Community Equity Research Center Dr. Elizabeth Stigler.
CASL in partnership with the Asian American Foundation launched the Anti-Hate Action Center last fall. It’s one of three centers nationwide tracking data and providing mental health support and legal services for victims.
“There is many individuals in the AAPI community that may be reluctant to report hate crimes or hate incidents especially our seniors and that just come down to many things like language barriers, distrust in government,” said community engagement specialist Kevin Amaro.
Advocates said the goal of the action center is to build trust, break down barriers and ensure victims have access to services and resources.
“We won’t be able to do this alone,” said Amaro. “The only way towards racial justice is if we move towards it together.”
Advocates encourage victims to reach out by filling a report online, by phone or in person, adding that they are here to help.
“This is sadly not going to stop and it’s really again a call to action that together we’re working to address all the issues around hate,” said Eusebio.
CASL will take part in a virtual safety meeting Thursday night with the Chicago Police Department to raise awareness about the action center. The meeting will be conducted in mandarin.