Atlanta shootings shine light on surging anti-Asian racism in US | DW News

A gunman accused of killing eight people in the US state of Georgia has been charged with murder.
The 21-year-old was arrested after a shooting spree at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area. Most of the victims were women of Asian descent. The killings have prompted outrage. Rights groups say the violence is part of a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes. DW’s Bastian Hartig reports from New York.
In the US, the number of hate crimes directed at the Asian-American community has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic last year. Activist organizations say they recorded almost 4000 incidents in 2020. In areas with large Asian American communities, like New York City, the situation is particularly troubling. From New York, Bastian Hartig sent this report.
Every day Ester Barroso Guerzon makes her way from her workplace to the post office through the West Village in Lower Manhattan. Usually considered a safe area of New York City. But one day, about a year ago, she experienced something that she hasn’t been able to forget.
At the time, cases of COVID-19 were surging in New York City. Then-president Donald Trump was pushing anti-Asian rhetoric, calling it ‘the China virus,’ making people of Asian descent, people like Ester, a target for racist attackers.
For weeks, she says, she couldn’t walk these streets without constantly looking over her shoulder. And even now there are some scars from that day that haven’t healed.
Anti-Asian hate crimes have surged all over the United States in the past year. In New York City alone, their number has increased more than 8-fold. Activists say, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Many victims often don’t come forward, don’t want to speak to the police.
The New York police department has set up a specific task force to reach out to the Asian American community.
A step in the right direction, but for many in New York’s Asian American community not nearly enough to tackle a problem that has plagued them since the very beginning.
Especially in times of national crisis, like now during the pandemic, Americans of Asian descent have repeatedly been made the scapegoat for the country’s plight.
Despite what she’s experienced, Ester Barroso Guerzon still considers the US her home. She’s been here for more than 20 years. And she hasn’t given up hope that things will one day get better.
But for now, many Asian Americans remain vigilant. As every new attack further fans the fear among their community.


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