Skip to Main Content

Book Displays: Equal Justice Initiative 2022: Mar

Virtual displays based on the annual A History of Racial Injustice calendar.

March's Topic - Violence Against Asian-Americans

People are standing on a grassy area and an Asian-American child is seated holding a sign that says we will not be silent stop Asian hate!

Calendar photo caption: Hundreds gathered in New York City on March 21, 2021, to raise awareness about anti-Asian violence. More than 500 reports of hate incidents targeting Asian Americans were made in the first two months of 2021 alone. (Amir Hamja/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Calendar Text

The recent rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans continues a long history of anti-Asian discrimination and violence, including the Chinese Exclusion Act and Immigration Act in the 19th century, the Chinese Massacre of 1871, and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Anti-Asian hate incidents reported to the FBI rose by more than 70% in 2020, when racist political rhetoric calling Covid-19 the "China virus" and "kung flu" sparked discrimination, harassment, and violence. The Stop AAPI Hate forum reported nearly 3,800 hate incidents targeting Asian American Pacific Islander communities from March 2020 to February 2021. In 16 of America's largest cities, reports increased by 164% in the first quarter of 2021. Asian elders were among those beaten, robbed, and killed in attacks caught on video in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and other cities nationwide.

On March 16, 2021, a 21-year-old white man opened fire at three Atlanta-area spas and killed eight people, including six Asian women. While the attack was not officially charged as a hate crime, the Asian American community quickly denounced the violence as a targeted attack against Asian women who work in such establishments. The deadly shooting sparked a national and global protest against anti-Asian hate and, later that month, led Congress to hold a hearing on anti-Asian discrimination for the first time in more than three decades.

"We are Americans. We are Americans of Asian descent," one witness testified at the hearing. "But conflating us with a foreign government has been an age-old way of denigrating us, separating us, making us other."