Amid a global rise in hate crimes against people of Asian descent over the past year, many individuals have decided to take a stand. From raising money to ensure Asian people feel safe to organizations fighting racism and discrimination, people around the world are attempting to end the bigotry and ignorance that leads to hate.
Now, a group of Asian American business leaders have launched a new initiative to help, pledging $125 million over the next five years to The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), according to the New York Times.
TAAF will prioritize efforts in three areas — anti-hate, education, and data and research — to correct discriminatory practices that have plagued the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
Within these areas, TAAF seeks to build long-term solutions to defeat anti-Asian discrimination, invest in data-driven research to inform future policymaking, and create school curriculums that reflect the history of AAPI people in the US.
The population of Asian Americans in the US grew 81% between 2000 and 2019, making it the fastest growing population among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center. The community is projected to grow even more rapidly in the coming years.
But Asian people living in the US have experienced a sharp rise in hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has fueled racism and xenophobia.
The group Stop AAPI Hate, which tracks anti-Asian violence and harassment, received 3,795 reports of incidents between the period of March 19, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021, and noted that this number represents only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur against members of the AAPI community.
“We created TAAF to stand up for the 23 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in this country and help bring us all together in the fight for our own prosperity,” said Sonal Shah, president of TAAF. “TAAF wants to strengthen and build power for AAPIs, particularly as we face an exponential increase in hate and violence.”
The founders board of TAAF is chaired by Li Lu, founder of hedge fund Himalaya Capital, and includes billionaires Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo, and Joseph Tsai, co-founder of Alibaba Group Holding, according to Reuters.
A number of partners are supporting the new initiative, and The Coca-Cola Company, Walmart, Bank of America, the Ford Foundation, and the National Basketball Association have donated an additional $125 million, according to TAAF. (Disclosure: The Coca-Cola Company is a funding partner of Global Citizen.)
The total $250 million pledge is the largest philanthropic effort to support the AAPI community, according to the New York Times.
So far, TAAF has distributed several grants, including $1 million to support the efforts of Stop AAPI Hate. The foundation says these grants will provide support to the organizations monitoring anti-AAPI hate to help build systems to measure and defend against anti-Asian hate in the long term.
“AAPI communities need systemic change to ensure we are better supported, represented, and celebrated across all aspects of American life,” Shah said. “TAAF plans to spark that systemic change and help fundamentally transform AAPI empowerment and support well into the future.”