LA-area groups stage events, urge end to anti-Asian bias, violence

The Korean American Federation of Los Angeles hosted a car caravan on Friday, March 19, to condemn shocking recent violence endured by Asian Americans.

The caravan began Berendo Street Baptist Church Parking Lot and made its way to Vermont and Olympic.

Another group planned a “Stop Asian Hate” candlelight vigil Saturday evening in Alhambra, four days after six women of Asian descent were among the eight people killed in attacks on three Atlanta-area massage businesses.

“We will not be silent against the gun violence,” Betty Hang, organizer of the 6:30 p.m. vigil at Almansor Park wrote on Facebook. “We want to remember the importance of uniting — for love, understanding and compassion of our community.”

With hate crimes and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on the rise since the coronavirus outbreak kicked in a year ago, multiple local officials and organizations urged an increase in funding and awareness to fight back against the trend.

The number of hate crimes in Los Angeles related to race or ethnicity in general grew by 18.6% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Chris Pitcher.

Organizations are urging local police to beef up their training for responding to and tracking such incidents.

On Friday, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other Los Angeles officials gathered to address the rise in hate crimes and other incidents against the Asian American community and to urge the public to report any instance of hate to law enforcement.

“We are seeing record violence and discrimination against Asian Pacific Islanders, primarily due to false narratives and bigoted lies surrounding COVID-19,” said Capri Maddox, executive director of the L.A. Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department. “We must all rise to support our fellow Angelenos from discrimination, bigotry and hate.”

Meanwhile, Los Angeles-based Cathay Bank has announced a $1 million donation to the Cathay Bank Foundation to support organizations that work to promote diverse communities and combat anti-Asian hate crimes and xenophobia.

“Racism and xenophobia are antithetical to our values and an affront to what we stand for,” Chang M. Liu, Cathay Bank’s president and CEO said Friday. “We believe in the equality of all people, treating them with fairness, empathy and acceptance. We condemn this violence against Asian Americans as well as against other ethnic groups and will continue to work and support efforts for greater equality in our business, community and society.”

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