With hate crimes on the rise, community groups hold bystander intervention training

Acts of violence at groceries, racial slurs hurled by Zoom bombers — like a recent one during a Pilipino Workers Center online townhall — and even our own news team was verbally assaulted.

A tracker by the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action found at least 1,100 incidents against Asian Americans in the first two months of the coronavirus pandemic.

With all these incidents, it makes many people wonder what should you do if this happens in your presence.

Hollaback, a global movement to stop harassment, and civil rights group Asian Americans Advancing Justice have been jointly organizing these seminars. They hope to empower communities on how to deal with these hate crimes.

“When it comes to harassment, too often we don’t follow through with those instincts, we freeze, we don’t know what to do, so bystander intervention is quite simply a strategy to help us get back to that core desire for us just to be human and to take care of one another. At Hollaback, we have what we call the 5 D’s of bystander intervention,” says Emily May.

Hollaback encourages using one or more of the 5 D’s:

  • Distract–to take an attackers attention away from their victim
  • Delegate–find an authority figure to help calm the situation
  • Document–by recording the evidence, and sharing it with the victim
  • Direct–attempt to calmly confront the harasser and de-escalate the issue, this should only be done if a bystander feels safe to do so
  • Delay–after the incident, check up on the victim

For those who may witness online attacks, Hollaback has a platform to report these incidents at iheartmob.org.

With these tools, as well as local and federal lawmakers creating new laws and legislation on hate crimes, community leaders are hoping it can empower the community to protect each other from not only the coronavirus, but also from plagues of hate.

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