Asian American Business Owners Launch Campaign in Response to Surging Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

Lucas Sin and Eric Sze
Lucas Sin and Eric Sze

Alex Lau / Laura Murray

In response to a wave of anti-Asian violence and racism, a group of Asian American restaurant and business owners are banding together. The initiative, called #EnoughIsEnough, is raising money to donate food to underserved NYC shelters, with an emphasis on supporting Asian, Black, and Latinx communities in need, all while raising awareness of the surge in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans across the country.

Participating restaurants, which include Win Son, Mala Project, Junzi Kitchen, 886, Fishcheeks, Madame Vo, and many more, will prepare meals for shelters with money raised through a Givebutter fundraising page launched on Friday. Within hours of going live, the page raised over half of its $20,000 goal. (All of the donations will go toward the cost of ingredients and transportation of meals.)

"Frustrated by the lack of media coverage on the recent violence, we are rallying all the industry homies to encourage people both in and out of the Asian community to realize the power of their voice," reads the Givebutter page. The initiative also aims to "spread warmth and joy in the spirit of Lunar New Year."

The campaign came together in a matter of days. Feeling frustrated and powerless about the anti-Asian violence that has worsened during the pandemic, Eric Sze of 886 found himself overcome with the urge to do something. On Sunday night, he emailed all the restaurant owners and food professionals he could think of in that moment, hoping to kick off a brainstorm. The response was immediate and enthusiastic.

"'I've been lucky enough to do a bunch of pop-ups with different chefs and restaurant owners, and have had meals and social sessions with others," Sze said.

"I put them all visibly in the thread and didn't give them the space to say no," he added with a laugh. "They were feeling the same frustration as me—and that feeling of powerlessness. We've had support from every avenue of the food and beverage industry."

All donors to the fundraiser receive links to a chef-led Kitchen Rodeo virtual cooking class called "Lunar Banquet for Uncle Vicha." (Vicha Ratanapakdee is the name of the 84-year-old Thai man who died in January after incurring injuries from an assault while walking down the street in San Francisco.) The cooking class includes demos of four dishes, from Sze and Lucas Sin of Junzi Kitchen, Helen Nguyen of Saigon Social, and more celebrated chefs.

"Through cross cultural community building," reads a statement from #EnoughIsEnough, "we believe that unity and love should never be lost during times of crisis."

To donate to the initiative, visit the #EnoughIsEnough fundraising page.