4 Ways Bars & Restaurants Can Support the AAPI Community

Hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen sharply since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

This article was originally published last year, almost to the day. We published this article after a shooter killed eight people in a racially-motivated attack on a spa.

Today, we're republishing it in honor of the New York woman who was brutally attacked Friday evening.

I want to make it clear that Bar & Restaurant stands in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Those in the AAPI community deserve respect. They deserve to walk down the street without fear of unprovoked assaults; they deserve to go to work without risking their lives; they deserve to come home to their loved ones.

I shouldn’t have to put into words something that seems so obvious, but I do.

There are eight grieving families in Georgia, a distraught community in New York– and countless more across the country – who deserve as much visible support as possible.

And so, I say again: Bar & Restaurant supports the AAPI community. We are dedicated to amplifying their voices now and in the future, and are committed to listening and learning so we can deliver effective, purposeful content.

To that effect, we’ve rounded up a few ideas for venues who want to support the AAPI community. I wish I could list every single bar and restaurant that is lending their support, but this article would never end. So instead, I’ve distilled some of their ideas here, in the hopes it inspires you to start your own initiative.

Chef Irene Li has a great piece on Medium that's worth reading. It's specifically targeted at white chefs who run Asian-inspired restaurants, but to be honest - I think there's something in there for anyone who is interested in showing up for the AAPI community. She writes, "I want this to be part of a productive conversation that makes things better by empowering white people to get involved in anti-racism and by restoring dignity, attention, and resources to non-white people, in this case, AAPIs especially." 

As President Biden said, “our silence is complicity.” And if there’s one thing I can say about this industry, it’s that we’ve never been complicit. Read on for some ways you can support the AAPI communities in your area, and some larger organizations who are welcoming donations.

Donate a Portion of Your Sales

One of the easiest ways to make an impact is through a financial donation. Despite the financial challenges of the last year, bars and restaurants around the country were quick to create promotional offers to support the AAPI community. Whether it’s 5% of a specific drink, 10% of online orders, or 20% of gift card sales, there’s a sustainable way to lend your financial support.

Make Meals for AAPI People in Need

The #EnoughIsEnough campaign made national news last February. The initiative was launched by Asian American restaurateurs in New York City. Their mission was to raise awareness of the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, while fundraising to donate food and meals to underserved shelters. They raised over $76,000 for people in need, and most of that money went to organizations like Heart of Dinner, which delivers care packages and support to Asian elders throughout New York City. Look for similar initiatives in your area and see if your venue can help provide meals to those in need.   

Boost Awareness

Social media gets a lot of flack, but there’s a lot of good that comes along with the bad. Showing up online can be powerful. When you publicly commit to your causes on social media, you’re telling marginalized communities that your venue is a safe space for them. That can mean a lot. Just make sure you pair it with an actionable initiative, like a fundraiser or donation, so you don’t become a ‘clicktavist’— someone who posts in support of causes on social media but fails to do anything impactful in real life.

Promote AAPI-Owned Businesses

Find a way to support and boost AAPI-owned business. That could be anything from bringing in a guest bartender for a few nights, designing a limited-time only dish with an AAPI chef or planning a full-blown collaboration menu. #EnoughIsEnough planned a whole virtual dinner party around their initiative, with different venues designing their own part of the menu. There is always enough business to go around, you won’t lose customers. To quote Sze, “by joining forces with others in the same position, our voices can be heard and our impact be large. Speak up, speak loud and most of all, show people what you believe in.”

Looking for an organization to support? Check out this non-exhaustive list of groups that are dedicated to helping the AAPI community.

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