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‘Attacks are still happening’: Chicago’s Asian American community says violence is still affecting them

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago is celebrating the one-year anniversary of a shooting that killed eight people, including six Asian women in the Atlanta area.

The victims were killed when a gunman opened fire on three separate hot tubs. CBS 2’s Jim Williams takes a close look at the fear that still exists, 12 months later.

In Chicago’s Asian American community, fear crosses generations, according to Danae Kovac of the HANA Center.

“It comes from young people who are afraid not only for themselves but also for their mothers, their aunts, their grandmothers,” Kovak said.

Last week, a 67-year-old Asian American woman was brutally beaten, punched and kicked dozens of times in Yonkers, New York. Police say the attacker shouted a racial slur at her.

“Unfortunately, these kinds of attacks still happen,” Kovak said.

Even before the most recent hate crimes and the Atlanta spa shootings a year ago, the numbers were staggering:
FBI statistics show hate crimes targeting Asian Americans jumped 77% from 2019 to 2020.

In Chicago, the number appears stable, but Grace Pai of the group Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago says the level of violence is likely higher than the numbers indicate.

“There’s so much fear in our community, especially among immigrants who may not be citizens, to even talk about the things they’re going through,” Pai said. “And a lot of times, I think people want to go through something really extreme to make it worth telling others about.”

While many groups are protesting to bring attention to anti-Asian hate crimes, Danae Kovac and Grace Pai agree that education is key to reducing violence.

“Because we have to look at the root causes,” Pai said. “Why does anti-Asian sentiment exist in the first place, right? What motivates people to go after Asian Americans. And put more police in the street will not solve this problem.”

With that in mind, the Illinois General Assembly last year passed a law requiring public schools in Illinois to teach Asian American history, to create greater empathy and understanding in the community. .


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