Hearts Against Hate was created in 2020 by Northwood High School junior Kristie To with the mission of combating anti-Asian hate through community based service and advocacy opportunities. As the COVID-19 pandemic garnered national attention, so did the associated rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the United States.
In fact, To said witnessing the prevalent microaggressions and prejudice affecting her community during this time inspired her to embark on her journey to create active change in the AAPI community.
“I found myself spending a lot of my free time in front of the TV consuming media about the Stop Asian Hate movement and campaign,” Hearts Against Hate founder Kristie To said. “I started researching what our city council was doing to combat anti-Asian hate and I honestly didn’t find very much direct effort … that’s when I created Hearts Against Hate.”
With a strong volunteer base consisting of over 200 volunteers in multiple chapters across the nation, Hearts Against Hate has utilized grants and donations from corporations like the Hershey Company to donate over 1000 care packages to the AAPI community.
These have varied from senior center deliveries to informational packages directed at educating elementary students about AAPI history, a topic that is largely excluded from school history curriculum, as the organization aspires to broaden their impact by reaching multiple demographics.
“When I initially started Hearts Against Hate, in no way did I mean for it to grow into such a big organization,” To said. “It was just supposed to be one community project, but in that process I found myself learning more and more about AAPI advocacy and I think my passion is what drove me to advance my nonprofit to what it is today.”
Beyond offering direct support to the AAPI community in the form of physical donations, equally important is the nonprofit’s dedication to educating participants about the importance of civic engagement as a means to achieve racial equity. They have released interviews with representatives from the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and collaborated with local organizations like Irvine’s High School Youth Action Team as part of their efforts to promote youth advocacy.
Hearts Against Hate’s mission is deeply rooted in the belief that younger generations must actively educate themselves on prevalent issues of racial justice to ensure that our world moves towards increased equity. To encourages other like-minded students, regardless of age or experience with the movement, to join in the effort by conducting their own research and offering unique takes.
“I felt that the conversation lacked youth perspective and opinion, so that was my vision behind Hearts Against Hate,” To said. “Look for niches within [an] issue area and for what you can identify that hasn’t already been done before so that all of our organizations can work together to combat the issue holistically.”