How Subtle Asian Baking Has Been Taking Action Against Hate Crimes

It's a Facebook group that delights in sharing images of Asian breads, delicate-looking cakes, and treats with flavors like matcha and ginger. Eater says the Subtle Asian Baking page began two years ago as a pandemic-coping mechanism and a way for blogger and cheesecake fan Kat Lieu to reach out to other home bakers who were leaning into their kitchens as a way to cope with the stresses of having the potentially deadly COVID-19 rage on their doorsteps. The group is a nod to the highly successful Subtle Asian Traits Facebook group, which has 2 million members around the world, and which boasts actor Simu Liu as an active member.

Today, the baking group has 143 thousand members, and aside from being a place where bakers looking to exchange tips and ideas can gather, the private Facebook group has taken on a challenge that hits close to home, and it is raising funds for two groups that benefit the AAPI community. In a post, Lieu explained: "With recent unfortunate events and especially now with Michelle Go and Christina Yuna Lee both brutally murdered simply for being Asian women, we've decided to come together again to host a fundraiser to help raise money for @heartofdinner and the @theveryasianfoundation. It really saddens us to read news like this. And it hits so close to home too, as Asian female bakers."

Concerns over Asian hate are personal for the baking group's founder

The cause is personal for Subtle Asian Baking founder Kat Lieu, who lives in Seattle, and who Eater reports became reluctant to leave her home because she didn't want to be a victim of an anti-Asian hate crime. Since that time, she's been able to raise $10,000 for an organization that provides hot meals for the food insecure and to help a struggling Asian bakery. She's also looking to donate money to the Very Asian Foundation and Heart of Dinner.

Lieu and her concerns for her community didn't come out of a vacuum. Research reported by NBC News shows that anti-Asian crime increased by 339% in 2021, compared to the year before — and that the number of anti-Asian hate crimes across New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles surpassed those reported in 2020, which had already seen a 124% surge from 2019. Tracking platform Stop AAPI Hate collected more than 10,300 reports of incidents between March 2020 and September 2021.

Lieu is also donating to help Ukraine's war victims

Subtle Asian Baking isn't just fundraising to help America' AAPI community; it has recently added another cause to champion. In her Facebook post, Lieu sent out a plea, saying: "We started an #aapi fundraiser about a month ago to raise funds to help #stopasianhate. Hate crimes against Asian Americans were on the rise and horrific attacks almost everyday. Shortly after, the invasion of Ukraine happened. As the war unraveled, many families were torn apart and millions displaced. Half a million children were forced to leave their home within the first week of invasion. It is so heartbreaking to see the world suffer and our community at home suffering as well. We must come together to make a difference in this world!"

Lieu's channeling her own effort into her fundraising by making cheesecakes to sell. She's also promised to donate the net-proceeds for her new book to help survivors of the war in Ukraine. As she tells Eater, its so her son doesn't grow up knowing "this kind of hate and racism."