More than 11,000 acts of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been reported to the national coalition Stop AAPI Hate since the start of the pandemic. Driven by this, Hostos Community College held a panel of specialists to talk about the implications these aggressions have in the many communities represented under the umbrella of Asians, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders (AAAPI). 
As part of the “Veladas Hostosianas / Hostos Culture Talks” annual events, the conversation was held between Dr. Frank Wu, President of CUNY Queens College; Dr. Soniya Munshi, Associate Professor of Ethnic and Race Studies at Borough of Manhattan Community College; and John C. Liu, U.S. Senator representing New York’s 16th district. The moderators were Dr. Eric Radezky, Director of Governmental and External Affairs, and Dr. Shiang-Kwei Wang, Hostos Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost. 
“This discussion is about finding our common humanity and responding to it with kindness by speaking up and not standing by," said Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis during her opening remarks, which were followed by a roundtable among the invited specialists.
Each of the presenters had the opportunity to reflect on issues about cultural heritage, anti-Asian crimes that peaked during the pandemic, and how to improve public policy, among other themes. 
One of the topics highlighted the most was the myth of the model minority, which perpetuates the narrative of Asian-American kids as geniuses. As explained by the educational initiative Learning for Justice, “This myth characterizes Asian Americans as a polite, law-abiding group who have achieved a higher level of success than the general population through innate talent and immigrant striving.” 
“This stereotypical idea is just not historically accurate; it presents Asians as people who don’t fight, don’t speak up, and simply assimilate into the American way,” expressed Professor Munshi, who uses her classroom as a space to build bridges among communities of color also experiencing discrimination and violence. 
For their part, on the issue of policy, both Dr. Wu and Senator Liu agreed on the need for more data, especially due to the diversity of Asian communities in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 20.6 million people who identify as AAAPI, making up 6.2% of the U.S. population. Of those millions, 21 different detailed groups fall under the umbrella of Asian alone.
“There needs to be more data; all communities must be included in it to better understand what's happening to Asian Americans and where our needs are,” said Wu, while also inviting attendees to speak up in matters of injustice because “everyone must have a space to continue building bridges” between marginalized individuals. 

If you’re interested in learning more about anti-Asian hate, read the most recent report by the Stop AAPI Hate coalition here. To review the demographic data available about AAAPI communities, go here. Lastly, if you wish to have a more active role in eradicating anti-Asian racism, visit this page.