QUINCY, MASS. (WHDH) - People in Quincy are handing out whistles in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the hopes they will help stop hate crimes in the wake of a spike in attacks nationwide.

The project is inspired by an initiative at Wellesley College where every first-year student was given a whistle to use in case they ever felt threatened.

Two long-term friends and Wellesley alumnae teamed up to lead the project with a similar mission — a loud and clear approach to help stop anti-Asian hate crimes.

“It’s not just for the people blowing the whistles, it’s for the people to hear the whistle,” Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey said. “If they see a situation and someone’s blowing a whistle you’re going to get someone else’s attention and hopefully the good citizens in the Commonwealth will step forward, step in and assist.”

The Quincy Asian Resources group handed out the dree whistles on Friday morning.

“We tell them to put around their neck when they go outside,” said President and CEO of QARI Philip Chong. “If they see something, uh, harassment, or people being attacked, use it. Blow it hard.”

Leaders in Massachusetts hope they serve their purpose for this vulnerable group where language barriers are concerned.

“The whistle is jarring, so you can hear it easily. It’s louder than screaming the word help. And if you don’t speak English well, the scream may not be loud enough, especially for our senior population, who may have less vocal ability,” state Representative Tackey Chan explained.

(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox