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Violence Against Asian Americans in Politics

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders find themselves at a crossroads, where they are seen as viable and important candidates and elected officials, and where the harassment and violence/abuse they suffer has gained national attention. The purpose of the Violence Against Asian Americans in Politics project is to document this rise in violence, and examine how these experiences influence candidacies, representation and political ambition.

Are you an Asian American Pacific Islander candidate or elected official? We want to hear from you.  

Being in this study is completely voluntary. It is your choice whether to take the survey and you can refuse to participate. You can also skip questions, or stop participating at any time. Whatever you decide, there will not be any negative consequences for you. 

The survey should take less than 10 minutes. At the end of the survey, you can volunteer to participate in a longer interview or focus group, where we will ask you more detailed questions about your candidacy and election. 


Learn More About the project

In the Violence Against Asian Americans in Politics project, we examine how the rising prominence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) as candidates and elected officials intersects with the rise of violence and threats of violence against them.

Our study is motivated by the convergence of two trends describing the socio-political condition of AAPIs and AAPI women since 2016. 

The first is the rise of political candidacies and representation. There are currently over 1,000 Asian American and Pacific Islanders serving in local, state and federal offices, and there has been a steady rise in their candidacies since 2016. However,  Asian Americans continue to be severely underrepresented: Asian Americans comprise 6.1% of the US population, but only 0.9% of elected officials. 

The second is the rise of violence against Asian Americans. Studies find that more than 80 percent of Asian Americans say violence against them is increasing. Nearly half of the Asian American adults surveyed said that at least once since the pandemic started, they have feared someone would physically attack them, been subject to racial slurs, noticed people were uncomfortable around them, been told to go back to their home country or been blamed for the COVID-19 outbreak.  

And the violence has fallen along gendered lines. A separate survey conducted in March by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum found that about 55 percent of AAPI women had “personally encountered” racism in the past two years. In Georgia, that figure jumped to 66 percent. 

Email Paru Shah ( if you are interested in learning more about the project.

This project is funded by the Center for American Women and Politics.

Project Staff

Paru Shah

Paru Shah

Paru Shah is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Her areas of expertise are race and politics, state and local politics, and public policy. She has researched and written extensively on the factors that influence women and women of color’s decisions to run for office, their likelihood of winning, and the subsequent policy changes. Paru is also an elected school board member in Shorewood, Wisconsin, and has worked with other electeds of color on  developing strategies to be successful in office. 

Paru Shah

Sameena Mustafa

Sameena Mustafa ran for Congress as a Justice Democrat as the only Indian Muslim running for Congress nationally and the first woman of color to run in her district. A Northwestern University graduate, she runs Silver Lake Advisors, a consultancy for candidates and nonprofits, and hosts “Hand Her the Mic,” a podcast by and for women of color in politics and activism. Before seeking office, she acted as a tenant advocate for nonprofits, foundations, and small businesses and managed a sliding scale family planning clinic in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. Now based in Los Angeles, she has been featured on ABC, NBC, The Atlantic, and HuffPost.