ORLANDO, Fla. - Asian American deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) have come together to create a video to help reach out to the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
The deputies are using this video to reach out to local Asian American residents, as attacks on Asian American Pacific Islanders occur nationwide.
"We recognize that some of them may be feeling unsafe," said Orange County Sheriff John Mina.
Mina said no one locally has reported any hate crimes against Asian Americans in the last six years. Advocates said many are too scared to say something.
"What I hear from the folks I talk to in the Asian American community are more of, more hate speech – driving by or walking by and saying something that’s nasty or hurtful. That may not necessarily be a crime," Sheriff Mina said.
But he said it’s still important to report the incidents. They even have people that speak different dialects.
"If there’s something going on in any specific area and the behavior continues. We don’t want it to get worse, so we could provide extra patrols in those areas."
"People have been in a lot more fear of their lives," said Mimi Chan of the Wah Lum Kung Fu Temple.
Chan also serves on the Orange County Citizens Safety Task Force.
"The next step would be to probably have a liaison. Someone that the community knows and can see and be that person that they can feel comfortable going to, to report these crimes," Chan explained.
Sheriff John Mina added, "We would certainly consider assigning liaisons."
Chan said many are concerned about their elderly parents. She has some advice to de-escalate a situation if you see someone getting harassed. It starts by addressing the victim, not the harasser.
"You can say, ‘Hey, I’ve just called management!’ if it’s something that looks minor. If it looks more serious, ‘I’ve already called 911.’"
Sheriff Mina said his deputies are ready.
"We will absolutely not put up with any hate crimes."
People can also call the OCSO nonemergency line at 407-836-HELP (4357) if they don't want to call 911.
You can find more information on Mimi Chan's Harassment and Bystander training here.
Chan has started launched a petition to Florida Education Commissioner Commissioner Richard Corcoran to include Asian American history in K-12 Education Curriculum in Florida. That Change.org petition can be found here.
Click here to view a panel discussion on Combating Hate, Racism, and Xenophobia Against AAPI, hosted by the Coalition of Florida APIA Affiliates with APABA South Florida, APABA of Tampa Bay, the Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association, and the Jacksonville Asian American Bar Association.
Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.