‘It’s devastating’: Southwest Virginia Asian American community reacts to deadly Atlanta shootings

Thousands of incidents of racism have been reported in the last year

ROANOKE, Va – A shooting in Atlanta where six of the eight victims were Asian women is sparking concern nationwide.

“It’s devastating to our community. It’s tiring to hear about it people are experiencing burnout and fatigue...It’s awful,” President of VT Asian American Student Union Jess Nguyen said.

But the concern isn’t entirely new according to Nguyen.

The organization represents Asian Pacific Islander Desi American students, also known as APIDA.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major increase in racially motivated incidents against Asian Americans.

“It has been going on for a while. We’re grateful that people are beginning to acknowledge it now, but we’re disappointed as a community that people have been acknowledging it pretty late,” Nguyen said.

Business owners 10 News spoke with say, for the most part, their customers are accepting and kind.

“I don’t have no problems with people like that, and at the counter I see a lot of people who are very nice, I don’t have any people that are mean and come and talk, I don’t scare like that,” Business Owner Brianna Dang said.

Still, Nguyen says an important part in making sure these “hateful and unacceptable acts of violence” stop is awareness and condemning racism.

Also by continuing conversations about how to support the APIDA community and those advocating for them.

“It is a direct result of the white supremacist structures and institutions that exist within the United States and I think I would like to see more people do research on Asian American history, because it is often glossed over in systems of public education,” Nguyen said.

For information on Virginia Tech’s Asian Cultural Engagement Center, click here. For information on how to report hate incidents, click here.

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