By Tam Nguyen
President, Advance Beauty College and Founder, Nailing it for America
Guest Blog Author
As a member of the Asian American Pacific Islander community living in Southern California, and Co-Chair of Orange County United Way’s Cultures United Initiative, I feel it is my responsibility to help spread messages of hope and unity within our community.
We must stop the rash of hateful language and anti-Asian violence against community members, especially vulnerable seniors.
In 2020, Orange County experienced a tenfold increase in hate incidents against Asian Americans, according to the O.C. Human Relations Council, which works with local law enforcement agencies to track hate crime statistics. These alarming numbers represent neighbors, moms, dads, children, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who are victims of these crimes. And to make it worse, we know these numbers are vastly under-reported since hate crimes often go undocumented.
Linda Nguyen, Executive Vice President of 360Clinic, which is in charge of Orange County’s COVID-19 testing super sites, made a routine shopping trip in 2020 when she was walking down the aisle and heard, “stay away from her. She has coronavirus.” In the 40 years Linda has lived in Orange County, she has never experienced anything like that. While she states it wasn’t a direct act of violence, Linda says that it was, “emotionally painful and incredibly embarrassing. I cried for several minutes when I got to my car.”
The last year has certainly magnified the challenges and divisions facing our community. But Orange County is stronger when we’re united—united in our diversity and in our passion to improve the lives of everyone who lives here.
Let us be inspired to take action and stand in solidarity to support the AAPI community. And please, if you see something, do not wait to say something.
Another way you can take action is by educating yourself.
Cultures United was developed to help promote conversation, collaboration, philanthropy, and unity. Through these virtual conversations, you will have the opportunity to discover similarities within our community, find pride in the different cultures that make up Orange County, and learn about the challenges facing our most vulnerable communities.
We will only be better together when we understand each other’s stories.
To learn more about Cultures United, please visit: UnitedWayOC.org/cultures-united