VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Local and state leaders hosted a Zoom conversation aimed at stopping hate against Asian Americans on Monday.
The Asian American Alliance and Binchmark discussed the topic with Petula Moy, Del. Kathy Tran, former Williamsburg City Council member Benny Zhang, Mr. Chance Wilson, Virginia Beach City Council member Sabrina Wooten and others.
The leaders and community advocates came together to stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and stand up against hate.
“It pains me to feel there is this heightened awareness and heightened sensitivity towards ‘am I going to be pushed or shoved when I’m walking down the sidewalk?’” said Zhang.
Local leaders and community advocates called for an end to crimes and violence toward Asian Americans.
“There’s no room for racism; there’s no room for hate,” Wooten said.
The evening began by remembering the eight victims in the Atlanta shootings last month. Six of the eight victims were Asian and seven were women.
United by pain but also activism, leaders said it’s time to speak up.
“Remaining silent is almost the same as condoning the act itself,” said Olga Torres, community advocate.
They also said it’s time to take action. We’re told the first events for the newly formed AAPI caucus are in the works.
“We’re organizing listening sessions across Virginia,” said Kathy Tran, the delegate for Virginia’s 42nd district. “We will hear from communities about what are your priorities.”
Community advocates said Asian communities also need more representation and inclusion.
“We need to see our history in textbooks,” said May Nivar, member of the Virginia Asian Advisory Board to the Governor. “We need access to resources in the most common Asian languages from the start.”
Something small they want everyone to do: stand up for your neighbor.
“Be sure to engage with the community and stand in solidarity as Americans, no matter who you are what you look like and what you may believe in,” Zhang said.