Recent attacks on Asian Americans contribute to collective trauma

People participate in a protest to demand an end to anti-Asian violence on April 04, 2021 in New York City.
People participate in a protest to demand an end to anti-Asian violence on April 04, 2021 in New York City. Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The spike in violence against Asian Americans has affected more than just the victims, it’s impacted the entire Asian American community.

"It’s just worn on me gradually," said Russell Jeung, a professor at San Francisco State and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate.

Jeung has been shocked by the palpable anger and fear being expressed towards Asians recently. "Just reeling from attack after attack, the stories of grandparents being pushed and shoved, it’s been a gradual, long toll on my spirit," he said.

Recent analysis from Stop AAPI Hate showed that self-reported incidents of racism and hate crimes jumped from a cumulative 3,795 between March 2020 and February 2021 to 6,603 within just one month in March 2021.

Physical assaults increased from 10.2% of the total hate incidents in 2020 to 16.7% in 2021. The majority of incidents took place in California.

As the state reopens, some are concerned about the safety of their grandparents going out more or even sending their children back to school.

"We’re really encouraging Asian Americans to not be socially isolating, but to take caution," said Jeung. "To take their grandparents out especially, create a climate of hospitality and friendliness rather than that climate of fear that we’re now experiencing."

Jeung said that attending anti-Asian hate rallies and vigils can be healing and encouraging for the community.

He's begun attending therapy for the first time, he said.