It’s AAPIHM, but It Doesn’t Feel Like It

Contribution from By Kacia Huynh, Assistant Audio Producer for Porshanality Media

For those of you who don’t know, May is the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM), a month-long celebration to honor and recognize the large Asian and Pacific Islander diasporas in the United States. As a second generation Vietnamese American, I usually experience this month with a sense of pride and belonging, especially when progress has been made for AAPI visibility in recent years, with 2021 even making history – from Vice President Kamala Harris being the first South Asian and Black woman to hold the office and Chloe Zhao being the first Asian woman to win an Oscar for Best Director.

However, AAPIHM is almost over, and I could not spend the month reveling in the diverse history, culture, and achievements of the resilient AAPI community when it is clear from this past year that so much more than a designated month needs to be done for the acceptance of my people. According to CNN, reported hate crimes against Asians in 16 of the nation’s largest cities and counties are up 164% since this time last year. Adding onto the onslaught of violence against Asian bodies from the Atlanta spa shootings back in March, there is obviously a deeply rooted problem in racism and prejudice embedded in our country that needs to be addressed.

We have witnessed an alarming increase in anti-Asian hate crimes fueled by the growing anti-Asian sentiment caused by the coronavirus pandemic, yet we fail to acknowledge that these kinds of attacks have been happening. How can we stand by and read news headlines that consistently report on targeted attacks against defenseless Asian elders and not be disgusted by the society we live in? Why are they only now getting the national attention they’ve always deserved?