Lend a Hand: How to Support Asian-Owned Businesses | Carolyn Cui
Asian businesses have taken a hit over the past year, closures being accelerated by both the pandemic and a more prevalent anti-Asian sentiment.
The anti-Asian sentiment isn’t anything new — it’s been around for a long time. The difference is that it was enabled by the highest seat in the land and the fact that this strain of Coronavirus was first detected in China. Asians have essentially become scapegoats, the target of a misguided and dangerous rhetoric.
Innumerable incidents involving Asians and Asian-owned businesses have been reported — from the March 16 Atlanta shootings to getting assaulted on the street for no reason — sometimes suffering fatal injuries. In the past year alone, hate crimes targeting Asians increased by 149% in 16 large cities across America, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism — even while total hate crimes decreased by 7%.
San Diego alone is home to dozens of Asian-owned businesses — the dozens of restaurants and shops on or near Convoy Street is probably one of the first places we think of when considering Asian businesses. Many of them could use our financial support now more than ever.
Small purchases and buying take-out are the simplest and most direct ways to support businesses. As more people are getting vaccinated, eating out is no longer an impossible. Saw a restaurant a while back that you’ve been dying to visit? See if they’re offering curbside pickup, delivery, or other options. If it’s time for a haircut, consider going to an Asian-owned hair salon or barbershop. A quick Google will also bring up dozens of local businesses.
If you don’t want anything for yourself, gifts are another way to spread the love and the word. Some businesses sell goods like porcelain and accessories, or Asian candies and seasonings for iconic dishes. A few may even offer gift cards. All of them can make excellent gifts for loved ones, and many shops will allow you to purchase them online or at a physical store.
Yelp has also created a tool recently to support Asian businesses; stores can now identify as “Asian-owned”; this is another way in which you can find local businesses.
Finally, donating to funds like the one started by Seattle’s Chinatown is another easy and direct way to lend a helping hand to struggling businesses. Welcome to Chinatown (based in New York City) is another fund you can donate to. General funds that aim to help Asian communities include Gold House, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, and Asian Pacific Environmental Network. If you see any hate crimes, you can report them through numerous sites; first and foremost, they should be reported to your local police department, regional FBI field office, and the state attorney general’s office. You can also submit a report to the organisations “Stop AAPI Hate” (https://stopaapihate.org/) and “Stand Against Hatred” (https://www.standagainsthatred.org/report).