Political science sophomore Faye Suficiencia said she has encountered racial discrimination while working at H-E-B.
“Some of the customers would whisper to each other or their kids to stay away from me because I am Chinese and I have corona,” Suficiencia said.
Suficiencia is Filipino, but the customers assumed she was Chinese because she is Asian.
Suficiencia is helping restart the Asian Student Association at Texas A&M University-San Antonio amid a new wave of pandemic-related attacks against Asians and Asian Americans. She wants to create a safe space for Asian American students on campus.
People of Asian heritage endured a wave of discrimination when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020. The discrimination began because the first reported cases originated in China.
The discrimination has not ended or let up since March, and now a new wave of hate crimes have arisen. The most recent attacks were an assault on a 65-year-old woman March 29 in New York City, an attack on a 7-Eleven worker in New York City April 3, and rocks being thrown at a woman and her 6-year-old child in Los Angeles April 5.
In shootings at several Atlanta spas on March 16, six of the eight victims were Asian Americans. The crime has sparked an increase in reports and discussion of such attacks, although the suspect has said it was not a hate crime.
In May 2020 the number of reports was near 1,500 according to Stop AAPI Hate, an organization launched on March 19, 2020, to track attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
Today, that number has more than doubled with 3,795 reports total.
Suficiencia said that when she first came to A&M-San Antonio, the association was her go-to spot for feeling safe and having fun. She wants to re-create that for other students.
Dr. Kun Gou, an assistant mathematics professor at A&M-San Antonio, says he is still being cautious when shopping for groceries and other necessities.
He says, however, that he feels fortunate to not have encountered discrimination at A&M-San Antonio as staff and students make him feel very welcomed.
Gou also commented on the recent Atlanta shooting.
“I don’t think the shooting was a hate crime; I think it was a personal vendetta,” Gou said.
He also said he thinks that ASA sounds wonderful and promising for students.
The association’s next virtual meeting is at 4 p.m. April 8. Students can join ASA and receive the meeting’s link through JagSync, even if they are not of Asian descent.
ASA is working with First Year Experience to host the All Around the World event April 15.
The association’s new officers are:
- President – Faye Suficiencia
- Vice President – Rafika Islam
- Secretary – Stephanie Cadena
- Treasurer – Deane Jean Gumila
- Web Managers – Fayaz Lal & Dalia Guerrero
The Mesquite contacted the Asian American Alliance based in San Antonio for a comment, but the alliance did not respond to schedule an interview by the deadline.
If you or anyone you know is of Asian descent and is being discriminated against, you can file a report at stopaapihate.org.