Business owners take on many risks, but racial hate shouldn’t be one of them.
Throughout the pandemic, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) business owners have faced discrimination, hate, and acts of violence. Many have been impacted by anti-Asian rhetoric and have had a hard time feeling safe in their place of work.
Peter Shen, owner of Sipping Turtle Cafe in Chicago, experienced hate when their windows were painted with anti-Asian graffiti.
Civil rights attorney Anne Shaw, who has been standing up for her community since the 1990s to help immigrants, seniors, and others facing discrimination, had to cover the front windows of her neighborhood law office with paper and take down her business signage to protect herself and her employees. “We were really scared, because my firm is mostly East Asian. The only thing separating somebody from being inside is the glass door,” she says.
In New York City, Lena Imamura has a design shop called GLO that makes customized neon signs, with a showroom in the front of the studio that opens onto a street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. As the pandemic hit, she felt less safe from the back of the shop, where she couldn’t see who came to the door. “We have no means of securing the space,” she says. “The most unsafe I felt was usually late at night by myself.”
To help give AAPI business owners peace of mind, Google Nest partnered with the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (
Nest Cams help keep an eye on their businesses inside and out. Nest Aware provides video history, can alert business owners when familiar faces leave or enter, and
Imamura and her staff feel safer having Nest Cams installed throughout their shop. “With the cameras, we make sure every angle is covered,” says Imamura. “I am excited because we had only one perspective of the doorway and now we have it so that we can actually see faces at the door. I feel safer psychologically.”
Nest Cams are helping Shen’s cafe by deterring potential threats before they happen. “I have one camera focused on the front door, one camera focused on the cash station, and one camera focused on the back door,” says Shen. “So I’ve got pretty much everything covered. I’m pretty happy.”
Google Nest and National ACE are proud to help by providing security resources for Asian-owned small businesses and giving peace of mind to AAPI communities.