The violence facing Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the U.S., though not new, has recently gained headlines and celebrity attention. According to NYPD data, New York City alone saw an 867% increase in racially motivated crimes against Asian Americans in 2020 compared to the year before.

What gets fewer headlines though, is the fact that even prior to the pandemic, Asian New Yorkers have been living in poverty, and that poverty among Asian Americans is the fastest-growing in the city. In New York City, the number of Asians living in poverty grew by 44 percent in the last decade and a half, from 170,000 to more than 245,000.

So targeted violence and rapidly increasing poverty have become twin crises, threatening to push a community that has been historically invisible, and too often suffers its poverty in silence, even deeper into the shadows.

The income disparity among Asians is now wider than for any other racial group. It exists both between populations (Asian-American women are paid just 87 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men) and within Asian Americans, too.

Going forward, Robin Hood’s Power Fund will be addressing these inequities by continuing to elevate nonprofit leaders of color — including Asian-American leaders — to break through the barriers that prevent recovery from poverty in the communities they serve.

Soon, the Poverty Tracker, Robin Hood’s joint venture with Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy, will include a Mandarin-speaking sample in its long-term poverty research, which will be one of the few longitudinal research projects focused on Asian-American poverty in the United States.

Amplifying the voices of AAPI New Yorkers living in poverty is essential to bringing the community’s challenges to light. Invisibility simply isn’t an option anymore.

Read the full article about the crises affecting Asian Americans from Robin Hood at Medium.