DC launches ‘Hate Stops with Us’ campaign to mark AAPI Heritage Month
May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and DC’s launch of the Asian Anti-Violence Program which includes the Hate Stops with Us campaign.
May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, as well as DC’s launch of the Anti-Asian Violence Prevention Program which includes the “Hate Stops With Us” campaign. .
Director of the Mayor’s Office for Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs Ben de Guzman said one element of the program involves outreach and education in schools across the city.
This means “training the people of the DC public school system – our teachers, our staff, our students, our families – to ensure that they know about our community, its contributions, the unfortunate violence that occurs and the role they can play in making sure the violence stops with us,” de Guzman said.
There is also an ad campaign including posters and #HateStopsWithUs.
Tuesday’s program and campaign launch in Chinatown also spotlighted the DC Police’s Special Liaison Branch.
“My Asian liaison unit is in the community. We interact, provide services and support the community on a daily basis,” said DC Police Captain David Hong.
Hong also oversees the Latino, LGBT, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and African Interfaith Liaison Units.
“We never want any member of the community, at large, to feel underserved, underrepresented and unheard. My team’s daily goal is to make sure that any interaction we have with community members, they never feel that way,” Hong said.
Officer Michael Kim said that as a member of the Asian Liaison Unit, he interacted daily with community members and business owners in Chinatown. He has a familiar perspective on the challenges the Asian American and Pacific Islander community can face — in the 1990s, his parents owned a small grocery store in Baltimore.
“I saw their suffering,” he said.
When Kim goes around, he gives information and safety tips; he listens to people’s issues and problems.
He emphasizes to them that he knows their needs, that he tries to help them and that he does his best for them. Kim also teaches and trains other officers on cultural differences to help broaden understanding of different points of view.
With the onset of the pandemic and the rise of animosity and hate crimes targeting the Asian community, many tenants of the Wah Luck House, a landmark of affordable housing for seniors in Chinatown, were reluctant to come out even to make the grocery store or drug store,” said Rita Lee, director of the Wah Luck Adult Day Care Center.
“We are very pleased that the DC government has started this program – not only the Mayor’s Office for Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, but also with the DC Police Department,” Lee said, in reference to the increased patrols and officers conducting safety seminars.
The Wah Luck Adult Day Care Center opened late last year with a staff that includes a doctor, two nurses, a social worker and 27 carers to serve residents of the Wah Luck home who have medical problems. It serves breakfast and lunch and organizes daily activities.
“We help them have a more social and healthier life,” Lee said.
On May 10, the city will host a celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at the Lincoln Theater. Everyone is welcome.