SALT LAKE CITY — With cases of Asian American attacks on the rise across the country, one group in Salt Lake City has reached out to those living in fear to try to bring some comfort and support locally.
With acts of violence happening around the country, many Asian Americans in Utah have experienced fear, and said they were afraid to go out to get groceries or run errands, even in the middle of the day.
Carrie Shin Pace created a service that links them up with a chaperone.
“This started from watching the news and hearing more hate crimes occurring in the news,” said Pace. “I feel like there’s maybe more microaggression in Salt Lake City.”
Pace has paid close attention to the rise in attacks nationwide. While she hasn’t heard of any recent violence here in Utah, she said Asian Americans have received threats and she knows what it’s like to be afraid.
“I’ve been told to go back to China. I’ve been followed around Temple Square before being told to go back to Cambodia. I’m neither Chinese nor Cambodian,” remembers Pace. “I’ve been spit on before in the past, I’ve had drinks poured over me.”
Pace and a partner started the Asian Link Project. It pairs up members of the Asian American community who might be afraid to go out alone with chaperones.
“Our chaperone services will consist of about 2-3 volunteers per each applicant. We just want to send them out and make them feel a little bit extra protected just so they have a little bit of support, maybe little bit of an entourage so they can go shopping, they can go outside, they don’t have to live in fear,” said Pace.
The project is geared towards both senior and younger Asian Americans, but anyone can request a chaperone. Pace said she hopes it’s not needed too often but she wants to make volunteers available just in case.
“It’s a buddy system that’s set in place if we do need it,” she said. “There’s a lot of us that feel very helpless, and rather than just sitting and watching, this actually gives us something to do.”
The Asian Link Project started out with chaperones available on the weekends, but they hoped to expand.
Anyone who would like to be a volunteer or would like to request a chaperone can call or text 801-900-6798 or go to asianlinkproject.org.