In the wake of the killing of six Asian American women in Georgia and the vicious attack on a Houston beauty store owner, I find myself asking: What is the role of an organization with a mission to support sustainable homeownership for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community?
It grieves me to see and hear of these senseless killings of someone’s father, mother or family members. To say that we are outraged and angered by this is not enough. We must take action.
We all know that our profession is much more than buying and selling real estate. We create homes. We provide funding so clients can fulfill the ultimate American dream. We give families a future. But that future has been stolen from victims of murder and assault — and everyone living in fear today just because they are Asian.
Every human being has the basic right to walk down any street in America without fear of being bullied, spat upon, attacked or worse. From the newest newcomers toiling in difficult jobs and saving their first dollars to descendants of people who built railroads or farmed this country’s land over a century ago, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are a part of this country. They deserve safety and equality as part of their basic rights.
Indeed, Asian Americans deserve the same protection of the laws as everyone else in America. Yet, there have been nearly 3,800 reported hate crimes directed at the AAPI community in the past year.
Here’s how you can help:
- Leverage your networks to alert local officials to the unprecedented levels of attacks on Asian Americans. Find out what they are doing, and offer your help in preventing and responding to crime and aiding crime victims. AREAA has chapters across the country, and our members are ready to assist with any of your local efforts. You can find a chapter near you here.
- Educate yourself and others about the many different types of countries and cultures that make up the AAPI community. Of the 18.5 million AAPI people in the U.S. right now, just 2.5 million are Chinese American. Unfortunately, any person of Asian descent has become vulnerable because there is a lack of understanding about the many unique characteristics that define each segment of the population. AREAA has recently kicked off a video series highlighting different AAPI cultures that will debut in the coming weeks. We also invite anyone in the real estate community to attend our timely Diversity and Fair Housing Summit held virtually April 28-29.
- Be part of the conversation, and talk about the responsibility of our colleagues and communities to ensure that Asian hate crimes have no place here and that members of the AAPI community who want to pursue homeownership can do so without fear of reprisal. Homeownership rates of the AAPI remain below those of white Americans. We cannot lose any of the ground we have made in recent years because of this alarming spate of hate crimes. If you witness a hate crime, you can report it to Stop AAPI Hate. To report a fair housing violation, visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fill out an online form or place a phone call to 1-800-669-9777 or 1-800-877-8339.
We pledge our cooperation at every level with those who respect our community and protect all people. Please join us in our efforts to help secure the fundamental right to a life free of discrimination, harassment and violence for all.
Amy Kong is the president of Asian Real Estate Association of America. Connect with her on LinkedIn.