Apr 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

AAPI leaders: In this current moment, "the solution is visibility"

Screenshot of Sara Goo and Amanda Nguyen speaking to each other side by side

The answer to discrimination and violence against the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is increasing their visibility, two AAPI leaders said on Thursday at an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: Asian Americans are in the spotlight after a yearlong spike in anti-Asian incidents across the country and shootings in Atlanta that killed eight people, including six Asian women.

What they're saying: "For me, it's quite simple. The problem is invisibility; therefore the solution is visibility," said Amanda Nguyen, founder and CEO of Rise, a nonprofit that advocates for survivors of sexual assault.

  • She cited the need for Asian American representation in Hollywood, government, mainstream media and education.
  • Younger AAPIs are raising their voices, breaking from first-generation immigrants who feel that they can't speak up because they need to survive.
  • "That generational split, I think, has helped not only because of many people speaking up, but also because of social media democratizing access to resources and the idea that we are not alone," Amanda Nguyen said.

What to watch: Linh Nguyen, a longtime community organizer and executive director of RUN AAPI, a youth voter outreach campaign, said at Axios' Thursday event that long-term investment is needed to galvanize AAPI power.

  • Conversations that bridge the generational differences "need to happen within our own families" and communities, she said, noting that her own mother still embodies survival mode.
  • Historically, AAPI women have led these conversations and served "on the front lines" of the movement for justice, Linh Nguyen said. But now is the "moment for us to keep this as mainstream as possible ... We have to keep talking about it."

The bottom line: "For folks who are wondering how in this moment they can help, know that it is so incredibly important that you speak up," Amanda Nguyen said.

Watch the event.

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