LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A recent surge of hate incidents against Asian-Americans is having a rippling effect across the country, including here in Arkansas.
The concern and fear come on the heels of a deadly shooting spree in Atlanta, in which six Asian women were killed, along with a number of other physical attacks, harassment and workplace discrimination reports nationwide.
Hate crimes targeting Asian people increased by 150 percent in 2020 across the U.S, according to an analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.
We spoke to four Asian-Americans living in Arkansas who say Georgia’s violent incident hits too close to home.
“Six Asian women were shot– six people who identify like I identify,” said Ross Owyoung who lives in Little Rock.
Owyoung, along with three other Asian-Americans sat down with FOX16 to discuss their feelings following the violent acts.
“Sad, frustrated, confused- like why is this happening,” questioned Mimi San Pedro.
Investigators in Atlanta are working to figure out the shooter’s motive. However, a new report details the suspect told police his actions were not racially motivated.
“It’s been very traumatizing for the Asian American community not just in Arkansas but across the nation,” said Joshua Ang Price, an Asian-American in Little Rock.
Each in the group says they believe the rhetoric surrounding the coronavirus had contributed to the hate some Asian-Americans are experiencing today.
“The keyword there is Americans. We are Americans, so we represent what any American represents,” said Mariah Hatta. “Calling it the ‘Kung-Flu’, you would think it’s trivial but it’s just ridiculous–the Wuhan flu, the China virus.”
The four say they believe change starts when individuals can appreciate what makes others different.
“Just because we don’t look alike or we don’t sound alike or like the same foods or have the same culture doesn’t mean we can’t get to know one another, be friends, and learn something from each other,” said Ang Price.
Little Rock Police say they are increasing patrol around Asian-American businesses following the violence with hopes what happened in Georgia won’t happen in Little Rock.