SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Following the recent attacks on the Asian community around the country and locally in the Bay Area, public officials are speaking out after Tuesday’s deadly spa shooting that took the lives of eight people in Atlanta, Georgia, six of whom were women of Asian descent.
“With COVID the Asian community has been scapegoated, so that’s why we are having these issues of people directing this hate against many Asian-Americans through ignorance and prejudice,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee.
“And this racism really needs to stop.”
The latest attack in Atlanta comes days after South Bay leaders gathered over the weekend in San Jose to stand against the rise in hate crimes and discrimination against the Asian community.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also responded to the Atlanta shootings on social media, condemning the “hatred and acts of violence.”
Supervisor Lee tells KRON4 News he encourages the community to unite and to be extra vigilant with such crimes on the rise.
“This hate is against all Asian ethnicities, 6 of the 8 individuals that were killed in Atlanta were not Chinese, they were Korean,” said Lee.
“But the thing is hate has no boundaries, they don’t know any different and that’s really sad.”
Since the onset of the pandemic a year ago, a rise in anti-Asian discrimination increased.
According to a study released by Stop AAPI Hate, there were nearly 3,8000 incidents against Asians nationwide that were reported to the coalition from Mar. 19, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021.
California came in number one with the state with the most reported crimes against Asians with 1,691 reported cases.
The study acknowledges the number of incidents reported to the center represent only a fraction of the number of incidents that actually occur.
Supervisor Lee says the Board of Supervisors will be taking concrete actions in response to the rise in attacks on Asian Americans.
In addition, Lee tells KRON4 News he is working on a referral that will be brought up at the next Board meeting to make sure assailants are properly prosecuted and for an increase in police presence in and around Asian communities.
“We’re putting together a referral to direct our partners in law enforcement, County Deputy Sheriffs, along with our District Attorney’s Office to make sure they are watching out for these crimes,” said Lee.
“For those perpetrators, they need to be prosecuted because justice needs to prevail,” Lee added.
“And at the same time more police and sheriffs need to be deployed to various Asian communities and businesses to make sure people are not fearful.”
Tips for those experiencing or witnessing hate (according to Stop AAPI Hate)
1. Safety First: Trust your instincts and assess your surroundings. If you feel unsafe and you are able to, leave the area.
2. Stay Calm: Take a deep breath, limit eye-contact, and maintain neutral body language.
3. Speak Out (If you can do so safely): In a calm and firm voice establish physical boundaries, and denounce their behavior and comments.
4. Seek Immediate Support: Ask bystanders for support or intervention.
5. Seek Emotional Support: Once you feel safe, take time to recover and reach out to someone to talk about what happened. Remember this is not your fault, and you are not alone.
If you or someone you know has been a target or victim of a hate crime, you are urged to report it to local law enforcement immediately.
You may also contact Supervisor Lee’s office at 408-299-5030.
To learn more about the rise in hate crimes against the Asian community, visit Stop AAPI Hate.
The community is also encouraged to join the upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting on Mar. 23, where supervisors are set to take further action.