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Project August 23, 2021

How Philly Organizers Are Confronting Anti-Asian Racism

close up of orange flower
A flower billows in the wind in a garden outside South Philadelphia High School. In December 2009, more than two dozen Asian students were attacked inside and outside of the building. Image by Lucia Geng. United States, 2021.

In March 2021, anti-Asian racism made national headlines when a gunman killed eight people in the Atlanta metropolitan area, six of whom were women of Asian descent. But the origins of anti-Asian racism extend far back; for example, the Page Act of 1875 banned Chinese women from immigrating to the United States, seven years before the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States around February 2020, Asian communities in the U.S. began experiencing a resurgence of anti-Asian racism. As of April 2020, more than 30 percent of Americans had witnessed someone blaming Asian people for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos for the Center for Public Integrity.

This project explores what organizers, activists, and community members on the ground in Philadelphia are doing to tackle the crisis that is anti-Asian racism.