Learning to stand up to hate in your community

SPOKANE, Wash. — Around the U.S., police report a dramatic increase in crimes towards the Asian-American population. Some are blaming them for the coronavirus outbreak, as scientists believe the disease originated in China.

Spokane hasn’t seen any COVID-19-related hate crimes. And your local leaders want to keep it that way, but it’s going to take all of us to look out for one another.

We learn from a young age the effects of bullying. Unfortunately, in light of this pandemic, local leaders are having to re-teach what hate is to grown adults. It’s an important lesson, one we could all get a refresher on.

‘We are in this together.’ It’s a sign you’ll read driving on Manito Boulevard in Spokane. It’s a good reminder for our community.

Through social distancing, staying at home and respect.

“Spokane stands for compassion, and Spokane is not going to tolerate hate,” said Pui-Yan Lam, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition in Spokane.

APIC in Spokane wants to make sure the hate we’ve seen reported around the world towards Asian Americans during this pandemic does not happen here.

“From the beginning, we need to make it clear where our community stands from the get go,” Lam said.

She says the little things add up. It can be quick comments online like that calling COVID-19 ‘the Chinese virus” or ‘that Asian illness.’

“They have a choice, to help with this situation, to help with this problem,” Lam said.

Speaking up is part of creating a community.

We are responsible for fostering a strong environment of positivity.

“To say things that can help to reduce that kind of ‘us vs. them’ dynamics, to use the language to embrace Asian Americans, it is going to be very impactful.” Lam said.

Spokane Police encourage you to call them if you hear or see anything that seems hateful.

“Call us. We will respond and we will take a report from you. Even if it doesn’t rise to the level of what is legally a hate crime hate speech still has an impact on a community. We want to track all of that,” said Chief Craig Meidl, Spokane Police Department.

This is our community. We have to protect it.

We are in this together.

“Anxiety, anger, PTSD. There is a whole gamut of things that occur if someone is the victim of a hate crime and the ripple effect is much greater than that victims or victims who is right there. It impacts a broad spectrum of people,” Chief Meidl said.

APIC is hosting a bystander training tomorrow through Zoom conference calling. You can sign up HERE.

Anyone is welcome to listen in and ask questions. It is a free event. You’ll learn different strategies on how to speak up without escalating a situation.