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Empire State to light up black and gold for #StopAsianHate virtual day

Empire State to light up black and gold for #StopAsianHate virtual day
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The Empire State Building will be lit gold and black on Friday night to raise awareness for the #StopAsianHate Virtual Day of Action and Healing.

The display was announced by New York Rep. Grace MengGrace MengHouse sends anti-Asian hate bill to Biden's desk Senate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage Jim Jordan, Val Demings get in shouting match about police during hearing MORE (D), who is organizing the online event following a rise in violence and hate against Asian Americans.

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Meng partnered with California Assembly member Evan Low (D) for the initiative following shootings in Georgia that killed six Asian women, as well as series of anti-Asian attacks across the country.

The “Day of Action” encourages participants to use the hashtag "StopAsianHate" on social media to uplift and educate their followers about anti-Asian racism.

The date was chosen specifically because it marks when the Naturalization Act was initially signed into law in 1790, prohibiting nonwhite people from becoming citizens of the United States. 

“Over 200 years later, Asians in the U.S. are still suffering from the effects of the racism our country was founded upon. Asian elders are being physically assaulted in the streets. Asian American children are afraid to go back to school,” the organizers wrote in a social media toolkit.

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The day will consist of a series of discussions and virtual events hosted by Asian American leaders and organizations. The day will end with a worldwide vigil for the victims of the Atlanta shootings at 7:30 p.m., which will hosted by the Korean American Association of Greater Atlanta and streamed live online.

The killings in Atlanta came around the one-year mark of the COVID-19 lockdown in the U.S., which set off a spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans after the virus was initially detected in Wuhan, China.

A recent study from California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism showed that while overall hate crimes dropped slightly in 2020, hate crimes against Asian Americans in 16 of the country’s largest cities skyrocketed nearly 150 percent.

Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting center that tracks incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, said in a report released earlier this month that it has received nearly 3,800 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate since March 2020.

More than 500 such hate incidents have taken place in 2021 alone, according to the website for Asian American Day of Action.

The Anti-Defamation League found that 17 percent of Asian Americans polled said they experienced sexual harassment, stalking, physical threats, swatting, sustained harassment or having their personal information released online without their consent over the past year — a 6 percent increase from the year prior. 

Within the last few weeks, a 76-year-old Asian grandmother fought off an attacker in San Francisco and a 13-year-old Asian American boy was allegedly assaulted by individuals making racist statements.

Police in Los Angeles County are investigating a possible hate crime after a suspect drove a car into a crowd during a "Stop Asian Hate" rally on Tuesday. 

Meng has placed at least some of the blame on former President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE, alleging his rhetoric has led to the uptick in violence.

“When I first heard the former president use words like ‘kung flu’ and ‘Chinese virus,’ I was really horrified. And every time he said it, I thought, OK, this will be the last time. He couldn't possibly continue to use it,” Meng said during an appearance on former President Clinton’s “Why Am I Telling You This?” podcast.

“And even the WHO, the World Health Organization, even his own secretary of health suggested that we don't use words like that, but he continued,” she said. 

“And when you have a leader in this country who has a tremendous platform use words and fuel false facts and misinformation about the virus, and it's perpetuated by the leaders, the top leaders of the Republican Party in the White House and in the Congress, what happens is people, Asian Americans are getting shoved, assaulted, spat on,” Meng said.

A report earlier this month found that Trump tweeting the phrase “Chinese virus” in March 2020 sparked an increase in the use of anti-Asian hashtags on Twitter.