Written by Vincent Kitirattragarn, Founder & CEO of Dang Foods
To be Asian in American is to be constantly reminded of one’s otherness, and I became even more aware of it when I joined the natural food industry, given its lack of racial diversity. It’s because of this that I’m writing to spread awareness about a horrific trend.
Since March 2020, there has been a disturbing rise in Anti-Asian hate crimes, which increased 1900%. 3000 incidents have been reported and many more go unreported due to language barriers and mistrust of authorities. Worst of all, there’s targeting of vulnerable elderly populations including the murder of an 84 year old Thai grandfather out on a morning walk in SF on January 28. This could have been my father.
Days ago, a 36-year-old Chinese man was stabbed in the back in NYC’s Chinatown, he’s now fighting for his life. This could have been me.
Asians have been spit on, poured acid on, and lit on fire, all because of their race and all to people minding their own business.
I understand a lot of people are frustrated at COVID and many blame China for being the origin, but it’s ignorant to blame a global pandemic on Asians here in the US.
Enough is enough, and I’m calling on our industry leaders to do something about it. Some things you can do to help:
1) Learn the basics of bystander intervention. This is the most powerful way to show alliance when something happens, but you have to be prepared.
2) Have your companies take a stance. A written statement goes a long way. Use these hashtags: #StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate
3) Amplify Asian voices in your communities – in your company and in the industry. Check in with your Asian employees – making them feel seen can be a strong connector.
4) Support the cause financially. My recommendation would be Asian Pacific Fund’s Solidarity Fund which specifically goes to organizations working to address anti-Asian sentiment.
My company Dang Foods has donated to Mr. Ratanapakee’s GoFundMe, and we encourage all allies to show up in ways that feel right to you. The natural food industry has welcomed me and made a part of something bigger than myself. My hope is it will step up in these challenging times to embrace my community the same way it embraced me.