Information for Witnesses & Targets of Asian and Pacific Islander Harassment and Hate during COVID-19

Resource & Support Page

Harassment, discrimination, and hate crimes against Asian and Pacific Islanders have increased dramatically during the course of the COVID-19 global pandemic. In the first three months of COVID-19’s spread in the US, more than 2,100 incidents of anti-Asian harassment and hate were reported. On US college campuses, international Asian students and APIDA (Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American) students reported rising racially-motivated harassment and assaults. At Arizona State University, Asian American students described a palpably negative shift in campus climate when a member of the ASU community tested positive for coronavirus. Nationally, 51% of Americans between ages 18-29 say that racist views about Asians are more common now than prior to the coronavirus outbreak, and 60% of Asian Americans reported witnessing others blaming Asian people for the pandemic. Anti-Asian and Pacific Islander harassment and hate are part of a long history of racism and xenophobia in the United States, but such behavior is not in line with the core values of the University of Arizona.  

The University of Arizona is guided by 6 core values:  

  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Exploration  
  • Adaptation  
  • Inclusion  
  • Determination 

The University of Arizona is determined to meet the rising anti-Asian and Pacific Islander racism due to COVID-19 with compassion and inclusion, while encouraging all members of our community to act with our core values in mind. To support the Asian and Pacific Islander community, the university created this page to provide resources, opportunities for engagement and sharing your stories, avenues for enhancing your understanding of APIDA history, culture, and experiences, and suggestions for diverse mediums that celebrate Asian, Pacific Islander, and APIDA joy. Our lists are not exhaustive, and we encourage you to submit suggestions for inclusion.  

This site should provide you with helpful information, contribute to increasing awareness of the sociohistorical context of COVID-19 related anti-Asian and Pacific Islander racism, and support the APIDA and international Asian and Pacific Islander community. We hope that this site will inspire the University of Arizona to continue to create structures, systems, and policies that make our campus a more inclusive and compassionate place for everyone.  

Image source: http://www.asianpacificpolicyandplanningcouncil.org/covid-19-resources/ 

Share Your Experience 

  • Share your experience with and receive support through one of the University of Arizona resources listed in the next sections, which can be done anonymously. 
  • You can also share your experience with one of the many national organizations who are collecting stories to track national trends and offer support. It may help to know that you are not alone by reading about others’ experiences. See the External Resources for Reporting Anti-APIDA Incidents section below for links to these organizations. 
  • If you are in physical danger or have been injured, call the University of Arizona Police Department at 9-1-1, or use one of the emergency blue light telephones located around campus. 

Seek Support & Practice Self-Care 


Develop Strategies for When You are the Target of an Anti-APIDA Hate Crime or Bias Incident   

These articles offer practical advice to develop strategies for situations you may or may have encountered. 

Image source: http://www.asianpacificpolicyandplanningcouncil.org/covid-19-resources/ 

Bystander Intervention 

If you witness harassment, you can use bystander intervention to take a stand against harassment and support the person being harassed. Hollaback! created the Five D’s: Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay, and Direct. Check out their helpful guide to bystander intervention! To summarize their Five D’s: 

1. Distract 

  • Distraction is a subtle way to interrupt and derail the incident. Ignore the harasser and engage directly with the targeted person without talking about the harassment. You could pretend to be lost and ask for directions, pretend you know the targeted person and take attention off of the harasser, or get in the way between the harasser and the target while continuing what you were doing.  

2. Delegate 

  • Delegation is when you ask for assistance, resources, or help from a third party. For example, you can find a store manager and ask them to intervene. Ask a front desk worker for help. Speak to someone near you who might be in a good position to intervene and work together.  

3. Document 

  • Documenting an incident by recording it can be really helpful, but keep safety in mind. Keep your distance and only document the situation if it’s safe to do so. ALWAYS ask the harassed person what they want to do with the recording, and NEVER share it without their permission. Releasing footage of a person being victimized can make the person feel even more powerless. If it goes viral, it can lead to further victimization and a level of unwanted visibility. Publicizing a traumatic experience without the person’s consent is not being a helpful bystander. Click here for basic tips on safely and effectively filming and reporting incidents of hate.

4. Delay 

  • Even if you couldn’t act in the moment of harassment, you can still make a positive difference by checking in on the targeted person afterward. You can ask them if they’re okay. You can tell them you’re sorry that happened to them. You can ask if there’s anything you can do to support them. You can offer to sit with them or accompany them to their destination.  

5. Direct 

  • You may want to directly respond by confronting the harasser. However, this is risky because it may escalate the situation or make you the target of abuse. Assess the situation before directly intervening by asking: Are you safe? Is the targeted person physically safe? Does it seem unlikely that this will escalate? Does it seem like the person being harassed wants someone to intervene? If all answers are yes, you might choose a direct response. You could say: “That’s inappropriate, disrespectful, not okay, etc.” or “Leave them alone.” Keep it short and succinct and do not engage in dialogue with the harasser, which can escalate situations. If the harasser responds, focus on assisting the person being targeted instead of engaging with the harasser. Use this one with caution.  

This is a summary of content created by Hollaback! Bystander Training Intervention. Hollaback!’s Show Up: Your Guide to Bystander Intervention provides complete descriptions and information related to each of their Five D’s. 

Additionally, in How to Respond to Coronavirus Racism, Teaching Tolerance recommends a practical four-step process for speaking up against bias that advises to interrupt, question, educate, and echo. Full descriptions and examples are provided for each step in the article.    


Being an Ally: Additional Resources  

University of Arizona Resources for Reporting Anti-APIDA Incidents 

Bias Education & Support Team (BEST) 

What to report to BEST: 

  • An experience with bias that makes you feel unsafe or unwelcome. You can submit a report anonymously.  

What BEST Does: 

  • Provide care and support to impacted individuals. 
  • Offer optional opportunities to engage in activities and dialogue that promote education, understanding, and healing.  
  • Track reporting trends and utilize these data to inform campus leadership. 
  • Based on the information provided in the BEST report, if there is a reasonable basis to suspect that potential discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in violation of the university’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy has occurred, the information will be sent to the appropriate UA office. These offices have procedures to provide due process and address free speech concerns. 

The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) 

What to report to OIE: 

What OIE does: 

  • Provide information and resources to any impacted individuals. 
  • Initiate a preliminary investigation and assessment to determine whether the concern falls within OIE’s jurisdiction. 
  • If jurisdictional, assess whether it is appropriate for OIE’s formal complaint process or an alternative resolution. Facilitate alternative resolution efforts if appropriate. 
  • The complaint process involves a formal investigation, determination, and potential recommendation. 

External Resources for Reporting Anti-APIDA Incidents

OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates  

What to report:  

  • Hate or bias incidents that include any acts of hostility or violence, physical or verbal. You can submit a report anonymously. 

Why report?  

  • Filing a report with OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates will help advocacy organizations nationwide fight for the civil rights of all AAPIs. 

Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council  

What to report:  

  • Microaggressions, bullying, harassment, hate speech, or violence, either experienced directly or witnessed.  

Why report?  

  • The information will be used for assistance, advocacy, and education, and will enable the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and their collaborative partners to monitor incidents around the country. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center 

What to report:  

  • Hate crimes.  

Why report?  

  • You can confidentially document a hate crime to researchers and investigators at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, which monitors and documents hate crime incidents nationally. 

Global leaders’ use of racially charged language for the coronavirus, along with their perpetuation of stereotypes about hygiene and eating practices in China have encouraged and normalized anti-Asian rhetoric, language, and attacks around the world. In the United States, the COVID-19 related rise of hate speech, violence, and xenophobia directed toward Asian and Pacific Islanders is part of a long history of cultural stereotyping, othering, and discrimination against Asians in America

In the late 1800s, Yellow Peril – the combination of stereotypes about the cleanliness of Chinese people, with fears of the economic and ideological threat Chinese laborers posed to America– led to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the first U.S. immigration law barring entrance to the country for an entire population of people based exclusively on race. During this period of the late 1800s, Chinese laborers were taxed higher and paid less than White laborers doing the same jobs, and also cut out of some job opportunities entirely because of their race. In Arizona, for example, after significant harassment of and violence toward Chinese laborers by White and Mexican laborers, mining and railroad managers phased out job opportunities for Chinese laborers. And the Tucson newspaper, El Fronterizo, consistently described the Chinese population in the most xenophobic and racist terms, “a fungus that lives in isolation,” “the most pernicious and degraded race on the globe.” In just the decade after the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by the federal government, Tucson demolished the original Chinatown,  Anti-Chinese Leagues popped up across Arizona and were endorsed by the Arizona Republican Party, and cities and towns passed their own laws barring Chinese people from spending the night in their town, or from competing with White people for jobs. Throughout this period, the idea that Chinese people were unclean and largely unfit to be American was kept alive in the imagination of country. And as racist and xenophobic notions of Chinese people were perpetuated these ideas spurred on racially-based harassment and hate crimes. 

Following the WWII Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese American citizens were systematically rounded up and interned in 10 concentration camps under Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. The state of California fired all Japanese Americans from their state’s civil service. Despite the lack of any evidence that Japanese Americans remained loyal to Japan, Japanese Americans were rounded up and imprisoned “because of the physical characteristics of the people.” The speed with which American-ness could be revoked from Asian Americans, and with race as the sole basis of such determination remains an enduring feature of the Asian American experience in the United States. The perpetual foreigner stereotype – the notion that Asian Pacific Islander and Desi Americans are not ever granted full American status and are always presumed to be from somewhere else – continues to otherize Asian Americans, regardless of sometimes generations of American citizenship and adoption of American characteristics.     

In addition to persistent stereotypes of Asians as barbaric, unclean, exotic, and strange, the Model Minority idea adds another dimension to the history of stereotyping, othering, and discrimination against Asian Americans. Coined in a 1966 New York Times article, Asian Americans, specifically Japanese Americans were identified as model minorities, in contrast to other minority groups – namely Black Americans. Taking a racial eugenics approach to understanding the financial and educational success of Asian Americans compared to other non-White racial groups, and without any acknowledgement of the sociopolitical and sociohistorical conditions contributing to these different outcomes, the model minority idea uses Asian Americans to justify continued racist and systemic violence against the Black community, while allowing Asian Americans closer proximity to American-ness provided that they remain silent about injustices they experience, not ally themselves with the Black community, and ignore all the ways in which the model minority status is actually a myth because of the wide diversity in experiences, resources, and outcomes of the many groups that fit under the Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American umbrella.   

Furthermore, the Model Minority myth in no way protects the APIDA community from racist and xenophobic harassment and violence. Over time, whenever there are conflicts or tension that have any tie to race or geography, the APIDA community experiences a spike in harassment and violence. And members of the community have been scapegoated, assaulted, and murdered in response to such rising tension (e.g., Vincent ChinAsian American Family at Sam’s Club). This experience of conflict and tension leading to rising xenophobia and racism, and then to an increase in hate crimes, is not unique to the APIDA community. Hate crimes against the Latinx community are correlated with the recent tensions and debates about the U.S.-Mexico Border. Following the murder of George Floyd and the recent advances in popularity of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Black community reported an increase in violence and hate crimes. And after the 9/11 attacks, there was a steep rise in hate crimes against Arab and Muslim Americans.  

Given the COVID-19 global pandemic, Asians and the APIDA community have again become the scapegoat for the spread of the disease. This scapegoating coupled with the rise in racially charged language when discussing the pandemic has led to rise in violence toward Asians globally and the APIDA community here in the US.  

On campus, especially while many people are working remotely, it may feel hard to build community or effectively support each other during this difficult time. Here are some suggestions of what you can do in your unit, department, or classroom.  

  • In administrative units and departments, acknowledge current events and be compassionate about the amount of stress, trauma, and hurt these events cause. You could acknowledge crises and key current events at the start of staff meetings, thank staff for how they’re working through these times, and encourage respect for diverse experiences during these times. Share campus support resources with faculty and staff. Engage your unit or team in ongoing learning and professional development to improve shared understanding about and actions that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. Please see this Harvard Business Review article for more information on how workplaces can effectively acknowledge racial crises.   

  • In the classroom or in advising situations, try to pre-empt harassment by being clear about expectations for communication and engagement in class discussions (online or in-person). Provide clear information to students in your syllabus and D2L site about where they can report bias incidents they experience in class, how to contact you during a Zoom class if harassment is happening, and be clear that you are available to hear their concerns and experiences during “student hours.” It is especially important to be clear that sharing concerns or reporting experiences to you will not impact immigration status, visa status, or academic progress in the course or program. Please see UCLA’s advice for Acknowledging the Racial Crisis in the Classroom for more information.  

  • In remote learning and meeting situations, remember that not all students, staff, and faculty will have the same access to high speed internet that will support video conferencing, and that in many homes there are multiple people trying to use the internet for remote learning and meeting. Have grace for people if their connection cuts out, and have ways to work with students, faculty, and staff who cannot always have their video camera. Be aware of Zoom bombers, and if possible have your classroom and/or meeting password protected.  

Beyond the campus, it is important to acknowledge that while this site focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on the Asian and APIDA Community, COVID-19 has also disproportionately impacted communities of color – especially Indigenous Communities, and that communities of color often face not just higher rates of infection and fatality, but also less access to testing and healthcare services able to meet the demand of the COVID-19 pandemic. Low-income communities experience similar impact disparities. And people with disabilities and medical conditions are also impacted not just by increased risk, but also by greater isolation because of limited resources that meet their needs.  

This is a living resource list that will grow over time. The goal is to provide a diverse set of ways to learn more about APIDA history, culture, and experiences. Links provided here are for informational purposes only, and the inclusion of these suggestions does not constitute an endorsement of or collaboration by the University of Arizona, which bears no responsibility for the accuracy or content. Please contact us at uaioi@arizona.edu if you have any questions. If you would like to make a suggestion of a resource to include on this list, please do so here.  

To Read (Books, Articles, Blogs, and Websites) 


To Watch 

  • Asian Americans (on PBS) – The history of identity, contributions, and challenges experienced by Asian Americans.


To Listen (Podcasts)

  • This Filipino American Life  
  • K-Pod Podcast  
  • Vietnamese Boat People  
  • Unsweetened+Unfiltered 
  • BRWNGRL Feels  
  • With Aliya  
  • With Warm Welcome  

To Follow on Social Media

News, Culture, & Racial Justice 

COVID-19 & APIDA Focused  

Culture & Information on Specific Groups within the APIDA Umbrella  

APIDA Mental Health & Wellness  

APIDA Student Affairs Professionals  

  • NASPA APIKC (NASPA Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community) 
  • ACPA APAN (ACPA Asian Pacific American Network)  

University of Arizona Resources

Cultural & Resource Centers – Office of Multicultural Engagement

  • UA APASA – Asian American Student Affairs  
  • aasa_UofA – African American Student Affairs  
  • ua_guerrero – Guerrero Student Center  
  • ualgbtq – LGBTQ+ Resource Center  
  • shiftingua – Masculinities in the Mix Initiative  
  • nasa_ua – Native American Student Affairs  
  • wgrc_ua – Women & Gender Resource Center

Wellness Resources

BIPOC Student Resources  

Key Student Support Services  

Additional Campus Resources & Services  

UA Microcampuses in Asia  

  • UA Jakarta 
  • UA Hanoi  
  • UA Phnom Penh

International Asian and Pacific Islander students can and should report COVID-19 related harassment and hate through the same channels as domestic APIDA students.  

Please know that you can report anonymously, by writing “anonymous” in the field that asks for your name. Reporting your experiences is important for the university to understand the scope of bias international Asian and Pacific Islander students are experiencing, and this data will help inform what types of services and resources should be prioritized for best supporting international Asian and Pacific Islander students.

For support, International Support Services provides information, advising, programming and resources for specifically for international students. In addition to International Student Services, students are encouraged to use services and resources provided by Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Asian Pacific American Student Affairs (APASA), along with all other resources in the I’ve been harassed section of this website.  

Upcoming Events

PCC is hosting an APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans) Town Hall Event on Friday, October 9th, 2020, 3:00pm.

TO PARTICIPATE complete the online form, https://forms.gle/Tw4eP3EH7iMnrhh87or contact Daisy Rodriguez Pitel, Ph.D., drodriguezpitel@pima.edu.


This website will host ongoing opportunities for submitting artwork and social messaging pieces about Asian and Pacific Islander experiences and resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check back for opportunities for engagement and/or to view our galleries.

To Stream and Watch  

  • Kim’s Convenience (Netflix) – Comedy Series  
  • Kingdom (Netflix) – Korean Series  
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Netflix) – Teen RomCom  
  • Street Food Asia (Netflix) – Documentary Series  
  • Tigertail (Netflix) – Movie  
  • Never Have I Ever (Netflix) – Comedy Series  
  • The Half of It (Netflix) – Movie  
  • Seoul Searching (Netflix) – Movie  
  • Fresh Off the Boat (Hulu) – Comedy Series  
  • White Frog (Amazon) – Movie  
  • Crazy Rich Asians – Movie  
  • Always Be My Maybe (Netflix) – Movie  

Websites & Online Articles To Celebrate APIDA and API Cultures  


APIDA and API Contributions in Fighting COVID-19, Building Community, and Thriving During the Pandemic