“I noticed that a lot of the target victims were older generation Asians who couldn’t speak English well,” Lim, 32, told CNN. “I wanted to make sure my parents, and the rest of the Asian community, knew how to make a report or what to do if they’re attacked.”
Lim published the booklet in English and translated it to Korean before she was swarmed with requests to translate it into other languages.
The booklets are about 15 pages long and provide information focused on legal rights, why hate crimes should be reported and what to do when facing an attack.
Arming Asian Americans with knowledge
In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, Asian communities are facing a dangerous period of hate.
Lim’s goal is to encourage victims of hate crimes to report them, but to also give them tips on how to safely escape and survive an attack.
She wrote separate booklets for Los Angeles and Orange County, California, as well as New York City, San Francisco and Oakland, with each one featuring specific legal information.
The booklets end with contacts for victims or witnesses of hate crimes to reach out to, along with key phrases translated for non-English speakers who need to communicate for help.
The phrases include: “English isn’t my first language,” “Someone is following me,” and, “Can you stay next to me until it is safe?”
Along with posting the booklets online, Lim distributes them to non-profit organizations in Los Angeles.
She also drops them off at senior centers, elderly clinics and houses of worship. Lim sometimes distributes whistles along with the booklets to give seniors an additional safety tool in case they ever need to signal for help.
“It makes me angry, especially because community leaders don’t really do anything tangible about these hate crimes. We can keep talking about racism, but what solutions are we bringing out to individuals who need it?” she said. “I just wanted to do something more effective on my own to help the community. I did what I had to do.”