On Tuesday, March 16th, Robert Aaron Long walked into three different nail salons and killed eight people, six of which were Asian, and seven of which were women. This act of hate stirred up a lot of uprising in regards to Asian hatred, which had already been a problem since the start of the pandemic caused by the Coronavirus. Some people irrationally blame Asians for the disease and pandemic, and that has caused blatant racism that is affecting lots of Asian Americans.
Many people have seen this month’s shooting as a hate crime, an attack specifically targeted towards people of Asian descent. It caused even more upset when the crime was not reported as a hate crime, and people all around the country have been speaking out against this. They felt the crime was acted specifically to harm Asians and hurt their businesses.
It wasn’t just this incident that has people upset. The shooting changed a lot of people’s perspective about how Asian Americans have been treated since the start of the pandemic. Research from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism shows that the number of Asian hate crimes reported to police is up by 150%, and it’s happening all over the country.
People all over have reacted to this discrimination in different ways. In Columbia, people are protesting and holding vigils. One of these vigils was held on Wednesday, March 24th, and despite the gloomy, rainy weather, many people, including myself, still attended. Upwards of 500 people showed up to this event to pay their respects and show their support for the Asian community.
The event lasted over two hours and many speakers came to share their thoughts. These speakers were very diverse in age and race. Some were Asian store owners, some were of Asian descent, and some were just members of the community trying to speak up. One teen was even celebrating his 18th birthday as he went up to address the issue.
Despite the hate being received, the Asian community and its allies are still persisting and trying to create a peaceful and equal chance community. All these efforts are certainly helping, but lots of work still needs to be done to stop the inequality.