ORLANDO, Fla. — The mass shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday comes amid an alarming rise in attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders around the country.
Since the start of the pandemic, Stop AAPI Hate has recorded close to 3,800 reported incidents of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Attacks range from verbal harassment to being spat at, lit on fire and even slashed with a box cutter.
Women are more than two times more likely to be targeted.
Florida ranks eighth for most hate reports so far, according to Stop AAPI Hate.
A local Asian American recalled a scary encounter she had last March.
Shirley Wang is of Chinese descent and lives in Seminole County.
Last March, while sick with a lung infection and picking up her medicine at a pharmacy, she said a stranger confronted her. “Two inches away from my face, he pointed his finger right at my face. And he said, ‘You are full of propaganda, this is all your fault,’” Wang said.
On Thursday, the House held its first meeting on anti-Asian discrimination in three decades.
“For many Asian Americans, Tuesday’s shocking events felt like the inevitable culmination of a year,” Rep. Steve Cohen said. “Some people wrongly blamed Asian Americans, or implied such by calling it the Chinavirus.”
“My concern about this hearing is that it seems like it wants to venture into the policing of rhetoric in a free society,” Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said.
Roy went on to say people should get to freely speak against the Chinese government if they want.
“I think that what they did to hide the reality of this virus is equally as deserving of condemnation,” he said.
Rep. Grace Meng said the hearing was meant to “address the hurt and pain of our community and to find solutions.”
“Your President and your party and your colleagues can talk about issues with any other country that you want, but you don’t have to do it by putting a bullseye on the back of Asian Americans across this country,” she said.
Stop AAPI Hate is encouraging people to report any incident on its website.
See the full report in the video above.