Atop a luxury condo building in Downtown San Diego met a group of Filipino Americans for their monthly luncheon.
The networking group goes by the name Lumpia Club. They meet every month to help share resources, but today’s hot topic was anti-Asian hate crimes.
“We want to educate our community on how to report and what that means and also work with law enforcement and community leaders on why is it important for us to report,” said Joann Fields, San Diego APPI advocate.
This comes after California Attorney General Rob Bonta released a report showing California had seen a 33% increase in hate crimes reported last year. Perhaps most alarming was the report's findings on Anti-Asian hate crimes increasing by 177.5%.
NBC 7 asked Fields, the group's founder, what the numbers mean to her.
“First [I feel] anger,” said Fields. "But I have to redirect that into something positive. I need to direct it into what can we do.”
Fields says educating the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community about the importance of reporting hate crimes has become one of the Lumpia Club's main focuses.
“We know nationwide that there is an uptick because of the scapegoating that Asians are the reason why there's COVID,” said Fields.
She says typically the AAPI community shies away from reporting these sorts of crimes to the police.
“We usually will just deal with what is dealt,” said Fields. “Whatever cards are dealt is what we deal with and we usually don't ask for help.”
If there's one positive thing to take from the Attorney General's report, according to Fields, it's that it seems like things are changing.
“The uptick, shows, I believe, [that] it is better that we know that people are reporting,” said Fields. “So that they can get help in the way of victim services, or help in the way of informing the community what has happened.”
Still, she says the report's findings are concerning and says more needs to be done to help prevent these crimes.
“It's not just the reporting of the crime, it's also educating the community that we are your neighbor,” said Fields.
Meanwhile, Fields and the Lumpia club say they will continue holding open events inclusive of all members of the community, hoping to spread a message of unity and anti-hate.
The Attorney General's report also showed a concerning rise in crimes among other groups in the community.
Hate crimes against black people rose by 13%.
Latinos saw a 30% increase in crimes against them.
Acts of hate against Jewish people rose by 32%.
And hate crimes against sexual orientation saw a 48% increase.