Wave of violence strikes the Asian American community

Sandra Chen

Physical assault, verbal abuse, and murder are just some examples of the acts of violence faced by Asian Americans nationwide in the past year.

The recent shooting rampage that targeted spas in the Atlanta area left eight people dead, and six of the victims were Asian women. While the motive behind this tragedy remains unclear, it has left the Asian American community in anger and in tears.

Former President Donald J. Trump’s racist rhetoric using the phrase “Chinese virus” heightened anti-Asian bias and discrimination. Asian Americans became primary targets of hate crimes, while simultaneously dealing with a pandemic.

Pace University sophomore, Jennilee Barayuga expressed, “People blame our community for bringing sickness that whenever anyone sees an Asian in public, they target them because they need someone to blame. It’s just appalling that people choose to hate others instead of helping those in need.” 

Nearly 3,800 hate incidents involving Asian Americans were reported last year, according to the non-profit organization, Stop AAPI Hate. These attacks are occurring nationwide, impacting people of all ages.

Tien Nguyen, a Pace University student from the New York City campus shared her story in a time when she was verbally harassed.

“I had a white man in his thirties, bullying a 20-year-old just trying to get home, calling me ‘Coronavirus’,” Nguyen said. 

The Asian American community received support from Marvin Krislov, President of Pace University in a statement made to the school.

“At Pace, we value every member of our community, and we stand in solidarity with our Asian and Asian-American colleagues, classmates, and friends during this difficult time,” Krislov wrote. 

Students are using their platforms to call for action by encouraging their communities to speak out against racism and stand up against anti-Asian bias.

“Using a platform is a great way to speak up about this issue and other issues as well because it’s the internet. Things spread like wildfire and if enough people take it upon themselves to spread the flame, then it would be no doubt that issues such as anti-Asian hate will go unnoticed,” Barayuga said.

Anti-Asian racism has always been around, but the Asian American community is no longer being silenced after witnessing unrelenting violence on their people.

Pace University junior, Gordon Lew expressed, “If you see something, say something. We have to keep reminding people that the violence and hate isn’t just a one-time thing, but this is still ongoing and needs to be stopped.”

The surge in anti-Asian violence has heavily impacted the Asian American communities nationally and locally, calling for an end to discrimination.

“Our community is bleeding. We are in pain. And for the last year, we’ve been screaming out for help,” Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., said during a House Judiciary hearing.