But the racism they fought is not in the past tense. To truly honor our heritage and heroes, our country must take steps to combat hate and strengthen the systems that protect our rights.
According to a new national survey commissioned by Stop AAPI Hate and conducted by NORC, a nonpartisan and independent research organization, a staggering half of all Asian American (AA) and Pacific Islander (PI) respondents said they had experienced discrimination – in other words, had their civil rights violated.
Policymakers, government agencies and others can take action right now to protect the rights of AA and PI communities. For example, investments in partnerships between government civil rights agencies and trusted community-based organizations can address discrimination by educating those who have been harmed on what their rights are and what they can do when they have been violated.
But education isn’t enough. Policymakers must make the reporting process accessible to people whose rights have been violated, including through multilanguage outreach to AA and PI communities, so people can see that reporting makes a difference. Most of all, they must strengthen existing protections and enforcement and pass new civil rights laws.