AAP(I belong)®

A nonprofit organization

$40 raised

1% complete

$5,000 Goal

To the AANHPI Community and Allies:

Monday, March 29, 2021 started off like any other day. I had been working from home, running Monday reports and contemplating it was too early to pour a second cup of coffee. I had just finished a Zoom meeting when I saw that I missed a call from my mom, "Huh, she must be walking to the subway," I thought.

I was about to call her back when my phone lit up with a text that read: 

"Call me. I was attacked."

Our lives changed in a big way that day, more than I could have ever expected -- the video of mom's Asian hate crime attack in NYC Times Square with the doormen bystanders raced all over the news and social media. 

Many nights I lay awake making mental checklists for the next day. When sleep evaded me, I would open the GoFundMe page I set up for my mom and read some of the messages. My inbox was bursting with messages of concern, love, prayers, encouragement, frustration, and general anger about the incident -- anger that someone could tell my mom that she did not belong here. I was moved that perfect strangers could feel so much empathy for my mother. The sensation was uplifting and gave me the strength to push through each day. I turned to this resource nightly as a "you can do it" inbox, and more heartfelt, "I've been in your mother's position and know what it feels like." Occasionally, I would be cooking dinner and hear my mother softly crying over her phone saying, "look, this is so nice," as she scrolled through the comments. 

This inbox meant the world to me, and became one of my most prized possessions. I started to think, if only I could replicate my inbox, where I found so much compassion and kindness, and share it with the world. This is how the AAP(I belong)® idea was born.

The next steps forward were a whirlwind, but with the help of a small community of dedicated, loving friends and volunteers, this dream has become a reality. Their passion to support for this platform has pushed us forward even during moments of weakness and exhaustion. It reminded me of the importance of community and having each other's backs when we feel alone or defeated. If there can be only one take away from the this project, let it be known that you are not alone.

On February 21, 2024, Brandon Elliot, my mom's attacker, pleaded guilty to a hate crime in the first degree. Mom commanded the courage to deliver her victim impact statement in court and seek her justice, not only for herself and our AANHPI community, but for all the victims of identity based violence that never had their day in court. 

We hope that by sharing our personal story, others will feel empowered to share theirs. 

AAP(I belong)® aims to shed greater awareness on Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander discrimination and cultural challenges through education by providing a safe platform for the AANHPI community to share their anonymous stories of encounters with anti-Asian hate. Our goal is to showcase the collected stories in popup exhibitions around the country with the intention of sparking self-reflection, community conversations, and general AANHPI education to the public.

The organization has been featured at the MOCA museum, New York Yankees collaboration, Nasdaq, JetBlue JFK Terminal 5, and has been mentioned in Good Morning America, Nightline episode, Elle.com, CNN, Time Magazine, and the White House 2022 United We Stand summit.

Please enjoy a selection of curated stories from the aapibelong.org submissions. We encourage you to share your anonymous story and follow our journey on Instagram @aapibelong.

Thank you,

Elizabeth Kari

President, AAP(I belong)®

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Organization name

AAP(I belong)®

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Civic Engagement, Education Access, Health & Well Being, Anti-Hate & Anti-Racism, Arts & Culture

Populations Served

Maldivian, Laotian, Mongolian, Nepalese, Pacific Islander, Pakistani, Samoan, Taiwanese, Thai, Tibetan, Uyghur, Vietnamese, Other Population, Tongan, Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, Indian, Hmong, Himalayan, Hawaiian, Filipino, Fijian, Chinese, Cambodian, Burmese, Bhutanese, Bangladeshi


PO BOX 911
NEW YORK, NY 10272