WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased drastically since 2020. One Asian sorority at Purdue is making sure they are prepared if anything were to happen to them. The Purdue Alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority took a self-defense class. Something they felt was necessary with the increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans.
"I definitely have an action plan that I can take if it is something that happens," said Rachel Zhang Vice President Internal, Purdue Alpha Kappa Delta Phi.
According to the group Stop AAPI Hate, 6,603 hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders took place between March 2020 and March 2021. 65 percent of those reported were against Asian American women.
"Just imagining the fact that could be me in that situation or that could be my parents or my grandmother in that situation is so terrifying," said Zhang.
Purdue Alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority isn't the only Asian group that is taking its safety into its own hands. Stand Strong, the nonprofit and self-defense class the sorority took, says it has seen an increase in Asian Americans looking to protect themselves.
"We have definitely seen an increase and we definitely see the value of participating in our sessions and they feel safer and empowered after that," said Lior Ofir the creator of Stand Strong.
President Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law on Thursday. It aims to expand the federal government's efforts to address the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans. Rachel says seeing the government take action gives her hope for the future.
"It's just really nice to hear it makes me feel a little bit more secure that we are taking actions and making moves to get better," said Zhang.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act directs the Justice Department to speed up the review of a hate crime and expands public education campaigns to boost awareness and outreach to hate-crime victims. Stand Strong is offers free self-defense classes to learn more about what they have to offer click here.