CNN reporter chokes up over 'cathartic' Biden speech

CNN correspondent Amara Walker held back tears as she reported live from Atlanta following President BidenJoe BidenRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Iowa governor suggests immigrants partially to blame for rising COVID-19 cases Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on MORE’s address condemning the spike in violence against Asian Americans in the past year. 

Walker, who is Korean American, said following Biden’s speech, in which he called on Americans to unite against hatred and racism in the U.S., that she “can’t overstate how much it means for the Asian American community” for Biden and Vice President Harris to visit Atlanta and meet with local leaders following Tuesday’s shooting spree at massage parlors in the area. 

Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed in the attack. While police have not yet identified a motive, Biden and others have noted that the incident followed a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans throughout the pandemic. 

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“For the president to come and say, ‘I see you, I hear you, I feel your pain,' ” Walker said Friday before pausing as she started to get visibly choked up, “and to elevate this issue, I think a lot of us — it’s a cathartic moment, because the first step is to be seen and to be heard.”

“And the fact that we have the vice president also acknowledging the history of racism against Asians that we have faced since the day that the Chinese immigrants started immigrating to the United States,” Walker added, referring to Harris’s own remarks ahead of Biden’s address Friday. 

The CNN reporter reiterated Harris’s comment that Asian Americans feel like they don’t belong in the U.S., adding, “when you are a foreigner in your own country, you are dehumanized, you are not taken seriously.”

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“If there is a crime committed against you or your community, even law enforcement might dismiss it as the perpetrator was just having a bad day,” referring to controversial comments made this week by an Atlanta police spokesman who was later removed from the shooting case. 

Walker addressed this remark from the police official minutes later in the broadcast, saying the characterization of the shooter prompted a “visceral” response from many Asian Americans. 

“That’s because for so long, Asian Americans have felt like they have not been taken seriously, they have not been seen,” she said. 

“I grew up in a community where we were probably the only Asian family on our street,” Walker said. “I remember cars driving by, I’d hear racial slurs. I remember my father’s car, our family car, getting vandalized a couple times and once someone had thrown a hammer into the window.” 

She added that she and her family members have been called “China virus,” the term which former President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE repeatedly used to describe COVID-19, or told to “go back to your country.” 

“This is our experience. This is our reality,” she said. 

Walker’s remarks came the same day Fox Business reporter Susan Li shared her own personal encounters with racism, including instances when people have passed by her and her relatives shouting “virus” at them. 

“It’s just something that needs to stop. Someone needs to stand up for us,” Li said. “Hopefully, there’s something coming from the White House and also maybe something from Congress in denouncements and heightened policing would be great.”

Updated 7:32 p.m.