World Insights: Mass rallies against anti-Asian violence held across U.S.

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WASHINGTON, March 28 (Xinhua) — From New York to San Francisco, people of different colors and ages took to streets across the United States on Saturday, to protest against the alarming rise in anti-Asian violence, which has stoked fear and angry across the Asian American community in the country.

“This affects all of us, and we don’t want any violence against anyone,” Ling Liu, who marched on Saturday in Indianapolis, capital city of midwest state Indiana, told local media.

The “National Day of Action” demonstrations to show solidarity with the Asian community were held in dozens of major U.S. cities including New York, Washington, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle and Salt Lake City.

In Chicago, more than 1,000 people of various races gathered at Chinatown Square on Saturday afternoon to protest against rising crimes targeting people of Asian descent during the coronavirus pandemic and recent shootings that saw eight deaths in the Atlanta area, six of whom were Asian women.

Protesters holding banners reading “Zero tolerance for racism,” “Stop Asian Hate,” “I stand with Asian Americans,” “We are not virus, discrimination is virus” flocked to Chinatown Square starting noon to make their voices heard. Local officials and district police chief, including President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois State Representative Theresa Mah, joined them.

“We hope to be heard … We cannot keep silent anymore,” Grace Chan, executive director of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community in Chicago, told Xinhua.

In Koreatown, a community in Los Angeles downtown, drums and chants resonated through the streets as hundreds of demonstrators marched on Saturday and held up placards saying “Stop Asian Hate” and “Enough is enough.”

At the rally, community leaders, local politicians and activists shared personal experiences of being bullied, scapegoated, discriminated against and treated like they are outsiders or something less than American, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Many spoke out against the alarming increase in hate crimes against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities during the pandemic and demanded government action to stop the racist attacks, said the report.

“I’m sick of all the hate — the entire mentality of blaming the new group,” said Carolyn Dao, a psychology student at Cal State Long Beach. “It’s sickening to see people go after our most vulnerable.”

Also on Saturday, a number of people attended a rally in Yellow Springs, midwest state Ohio, holding signs with slogans like “Racism is a Pandemic,” “Stop China-bashing,” according to CBS-affiliated local television WHIO-TV.

“The opportunistic scapegoating of China during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the intensity by which China is deemed the enemy and adversary of the United States, has driven a widespread Sinophobic sentiment nationally,” said the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, the rally organizer, in a press release online.

“The Asian American community suffers the brunt of the hatred fomented as a weapon of war,” it said.

“What is happening to Asian Americans is simply un-American. We condemn racism, violence and hatred against our AAPI communities, and we must do more to protect, lift up, and support the Asian American community,” 26 U.S. governors said Friday in a joint statement.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based nonprofit social organization tracking incidents of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, it received nearly 3,800 reports of attack or abuse against people of Asian descent between March 2020 and February 2021. Enditem

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