HOUSTON - In 2020, hate crimes against Asians spiked 150% nationwide, while hate crimes overall during the pandemic decreased 7%, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Attorney Andrew Dao has pledged his life to speaking out against injustice.
"I think a lot of people play it safe and don’t want to say certain things. But now is not the time for it," Dao said.
Andrew’s dedicated his career to breaking stereotypes and trailblazing a pathway for aspiring civil litigators.
At just 33-years-old, Andrew became a partner at Daly and Black Law Firm. He’s been named one of the top lawyers in Houston several years in a row.
In his University of Houston 2012 law class, only 20 of 180 graduates were Asian-American.
Although he’s one of few AAPI in the industry, Andrew has big ambitions and 2021 is the year, he manifests them.
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Starting next month, Andrew will make his debut in media.
First up, as a legal analyst in a new FOX TV show "The Mediator" by rapper Ice T.
Andrew has also partnered with his childhood friend, fellow Houstonian, Michelle Pham, to launch a podcast called "Asians in Law" on Spotify.
Despite his accomplishments and efforts to erase the hate, Andrew says much more must be done to fight xenophobia as he remembers his own run-ins with racism growing up.
"The general insults like slanty eyes, ch***, you know, just things that should not be said. Racial slurs, racial generalizations, derogatory names, you kinda just brush it off as a kid, you don’t really think too much of it, but when you look back on it, you think, that’s not okay," Dao said.
His approach to that bigotry now is a 180 from the cultural Asian norms of keeping one’s head down; vowing instead, to never stay silent, again.
"As long as you speak to people you know, whether it’s family, friends, just people that may listen to what you say or at least consider what you say, everyone at this point just needs to speak up," Dao said.
If you or anyone you see is a victim to a hate crime, you can report them to an official tracking website by clicking here.