WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – There has been a recent rise in attacks against the Asian community across the country. Several incidences have been caught on camera of crimes against elder Asians.
The videos have been tough to watch for many Asian Americans, “To see our very own attacked and targeted. It’s hurtful,” said Taben Azad, Vice President of the Wichita Asian Association.
Studies show hate crimes against Asian-Americans have seen an uptick since the start of the pandemic. According to the national coalition, Stop AAPI Hate, there have been more than 2,800 first-hand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states including Kansas. The data was recorded from when the pandemic began in March last year throughout 2020.
The data showed 126 of those incidents were against the elderly. Physical assaults made up 8.7% of incidents. While verbal harassment made up just over 70%. “It’s no secret that there are people that have those ignorant ignorant views against Asian Americans,” Azad said.
When the pandemic started a surge in anti-Asian rhetoric was noticed. The WAA quickly reacted, creating a guide for recognizing and reporting hate incidents. “We wanted to really make sure that given the rhetoric going around in the country that individuals here in the community felt comfortable with our role in making sure that they were supported,” he said.
Since March 2020, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office has not seen any anti-Asian reports.
The ACLU of Kansas said they haven’t seen any either, but would not be surprised if incidences happened. “Unfortunately, I think the mindset behind the Asian-American community is that we face crime and incidents that we are reluctant to report it to the authorities,” Azad explained.
In January, the Biden Administration created a memorandum condemning racism and intolerance for Asian-Americans.
Azad said while that’s welcomed, he hopes for more action, “We haven’t seen a lot from local policymakers and we’re really hopeful that they’ll engage with Wichita Asian Association to see how can we make sure that our community is kept safe in the midst of the pandemic.”
Stop AAPI is continuing to collect data regarding Asian hate crimes. If you have experienced anything, you can file a report here.