A- A+

Support Asian Pacific Islanders in DSM

Standing Against Hate

May 4, 2021

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, violence against the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community has surged in our country. According to a report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, in 2020 Asian hate crimes surged 145% with a majority of those hate crimes being against women.

Asian and Pacific Islanders Enrich the DSM Community

Bringing experiences and traditions from around the world, Asian Pacific Islanders are an integral part of our community in DSM USA. While there is still much work to do in our community, we are proud of our history of embracing newcomers to the region and state, Iowa being the first state to welcome refugees from Southeast Asia in 1975 after the fall of Saigon under the leadership of Governor Robert Ray. Since then, Greater Des Moines (DSM) has successfully attracted thousands of Asian and Pacific Islanders to the area who are creating businesses, paying taxes, fulfilling jobs and continually adding to the cultural and economic vibrancy of our community.

In 2020 and 2021, the Greater Des Moines Partnership has increased its work to support minority-owned businesses through access to capital, business consultation and more, as well as focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts that will create connections, programs and services of value to all of its residents. Together with the Inclusion council we continue to move forward as an organization, urging the entire community to embrace differences and stand up to hate and violence.

API Resources

Iowa is home to several API ethnic minorities including Burma, Cambodian, Chinese, Hmong, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Nepalese, Filipino, Taiwanese, Tai Dam, Thai, Vietnamese, and continues to grow. Local resources are available through the Iowa Asian Alliance (IAA) and the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, two organizations that advocate and serve the API community in DSM. This post from Tim Greene, Volunteer Director for the Iowa Asian Alliance’s CelebrAsian festival, also offers ideas for supporting DSM’s API community as we look forward to celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month in May. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CelebrAsian, normally held in May, was moved to the fall on Friday, October 1, 2021 – Saturday, October 2, 2021 honoring “Silk & Spice” this year.

Check out the resources and webinars offered by Community CPA on COVID-19 response, federal and local funding and support for small businesses. Finally, for those wanting to do more, we ask that you consider showing support to the API community in DSM by purchasing goods and services from or donating to local API businesses and organizations.

If you have experienced or seen acts of hate against the AAPI community, you can report the incident at stopaapihate.org. The website also offers safety tips, bystander intervention training and downloadable signs. To contact Stop AAPI Hate, email community@stopaapihate.org.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) residents are strong and resilient through challenging times, seeking out opportunities for growth and improvement while offering support when needed. Together, we are #DSMstrong.

Jade Song

Jade Song, Iowa Asian Alliance, is the 2021 CelebrAsian Festival chair in Greater Des Moines (DSM) and Inclusion council member of The Greater Des Moines Partnership.