KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the wake of hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), Jackie Nguyen, owner of Cafe Cà Phê in Kansas City, and others started to fundraise to support various AAPI charities such as Hate is a Virus and the Stop Asian Hate Community Fund.
“A lot of these charities make sure that the money goes straight into Asian-owned businesses, or bringing more clarity and bringing more fight in the White House,” Nguyen said.
What first inspired Nguyen to do this was an emotional vigil outside her business in March. It took place after the shootings in several spas in Atlanta in which six Asian woman were killed.
“Continuing to see the hate crimes is seriously disheartening, but I think what is best is if you reach out to your own communities,” she said.
Over the weekend Nguyen gathered several other businesses and organizations for a pop-up event where they raised more than $2,300, which was a surprise to Nguyen.
“I never expected to raise that much money in one day,” Nguyen said.
Since March, they’ve raised more than $8,000 from people buying tote bags, mugs and banners for which at least 25% of the money funnels into charities with the goal of ending hate against the AAPI community.
“Better exposure towards the hate crimes, making sure that they are reported, making sure that there are boots on the ground and that people are out in the community recording certain things that are happening, bringing awareness to it,” Nguyen described.
The movement has sparked other organizations to chip in and sell their own products to help fundraise for the AAPI community.
“With this pop-up, they really took care of the local maker community but then also rallied all of us to raise money for a really great cause,” said Theo Bunch, director of Build Trybe.
The organization, Build Trybe is a vocational program at Cornerstones of Care, which serves foster care youth who are in need of services.
Build Trybe made tables and coasters for the pop-up. Twenty percent of their proceeds at the event went to help AAPI charities.
It was also a chance for the youth to build relationships with the local Asian-American community.
“Making those connections and being able to find new communities and engage with those communities is critical so we can start breaking apart these divides and these silos,”Bunch said.
While this support feels invigorating for Nguyen, she said the fight isn’t over.
“I hope that it doesn’t go away. I worry that it’s a trend and so I really encourage people to continue their efforts because there’s still hate crimes happening, and they’re actually increasing, so we want to continue to raise awareness to it,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen said Cafe Cà Phê will be out doing pop-up events to continue to sell items throughout the city. Their schedule and more information about where to donate is on their website.