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Op-Ed: Gavin Newsom approved a groundbreaking $156 million to stop AAPI hate crimes in 2021. What’s next?

After a previous year that seemed to be fueled completely by racial violence, it isn’t news that AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) hate has still continued to rise ever since the beginning of the pandemic, even in 2022. It’s been an uphill battle for all of those of Asian or Pacific Islander descent; a battle that still requires immense support to win. From larger organizations like the nationwide “Stop AAPI Hate” campaign to more local and grassroots groups such as “APAPA” (Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs), support for the movement is constantly needed. 

In May, with the support of over 80 activist organizations, APAPA organized the international rally event Unity Against Hate. At the state capitol, supporters came and went throughout the day to show solidarity for the AAPI community. Among those attending included NAACP’s Sacramento Chapter President Betty Williams, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Senator Richard Pan, and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. 

When asked about his role in supporting the AAPI community, Mayor Steinberg had this to say: “I am a proud mayor of a city that embraces diversity including a wonderful API community, and my job is to support those communities, especially during this difficult time.” He further denounced the recent rise of AAPI hate crimes and said that the city of Sacramento has no place for such actions. Additionally, he praised the efforts of locally-based grassroots organizations and their unique ability to rally support for activism regionally.

Overall, it’s incredibly inspiring to see the combined efforts of local and nationwide organizations making such a great impact to advance equity, inclusion, and diversity even in the face of adversity. Small steps like the international Unity Against Hate Rally always lead to something greater, recently exemplified by the signing of the monumental API Equity Budget Proposal spearheaded by the APILC and supported by Governor Gavin Newsom. The $156.5 million distributed towards various fighting Asian hate crimes is a historic win for the AAPI community and state. 

While this victory is absolutely worth celebrating, there is still much work to be done to create an America free from racial prejudice for all individuals. The increased discrimination against Asian Americans has only been one of many recent events complicating the battle for justice, one that in spite of all the hardships, we can and will overcome together. 2020 was a devastating year and the entirety of 2021 was spent picking up the broken glass. Following a year full of racial violence and bigotry, our communities should look towards the future, with every generation doing their part to help win the battle for equality. Volunteer for your local grassroots organization such as APAPA, spread awareness about issues facing your community, and never give up the struggle for equal rights. Organizations and individuals who came before us fought an incredibly strenuous battle, and we should do our best to honor them by seeing their vision through.

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