Yelp creates tool to help support Asian-owned businesses

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Yelp on Tuesday unveiled a new tool to help customers identify and support Asian-owned businesses in the wake of increased violence against Asian Americans during the pandemic. 

Miriam Warren, chief diversity officer for the business review website, wrote in a blog post that the new feature will allow businesses the option to identify themselves as “Asian-owned” under the “amenities” section of a business’s web page. 

Yelp has previously released options for businesses to identify as Black, Latino or women-owned. 

The tool, developed in partnership with nonprofit Gold House, which promotes unity and representation for Asians and Pacific Islanders, comes in coordination with the release of Yelp’s latest Economic Impact Report on diverse businesses

The report found that in February 2021, searches on Yelp for Asian-owned businesses in the U.S. increased by 130 percent compared to the same period last year. 

“With the escalation of anti-Asian hate crimes and violence we’ve seen across the nation during the pandemic, there’s never been a more important time to support the Asian American community,” Warren wrote Tuesday. 

The diversity officer noted that in order to protect businesses who choose to identify as “Asian-owned” on Yelp, the company is “proactively monitoring business pages for hate speech against the Asian community to mitigate and remove any hateful, racist or harmful content that violates our content guidelines.” 

Conversations around condemning anti-Asian violence have surged to the forefront in recent weeks, especially after last month’s shooting spree on a series of Atlanta massage parlors, which left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent. 

Additionally, a recent report from California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism showed that hate crimes against Asian Americans in 16 of the country’s largest cities increased by nearly 150 percent in 2020. 

The rise in anti-Asian violence has come as former President Trump and his allies have repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus” or “Wuhan virus.” 

Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder and CEO of Yelp, said in his own blog post Tuesday that it has been “heartbreaking to witness” the “alarming rise in xenophobic and racist hate crimes against Asian Americans over the last year, coinciding with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and racist rhetoric tied to the virus.” 

“As part of our continued commitment to stand in solidarity with communities of color, we at Yelp condemn this senseless violence and are committed to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, inside and outside our organization,” he added. 

In addition to the new tool to identify Asian-owned businesses, the company announced Tuesday that the Yelp Foundation will double match its employee’s donations made from March through May “to select Asian American and Pacific Islander-serving organizations that are fighting to stop Asian hate,” as well as specific organizations working to end gun violence.

Tags AAPI anti-Asian hate crime Anti-Asian violence Asian Americans Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Atlanta Atlanta shootings china virus Donald Trump Yelp
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