ELLICOTT CITY, Md. - Dozens of Asian Americans and other community members gathered in Ellicott City Sunday to show support for the victims of the Atlanta-area Asian spa killings and to call out rising anti-Asian hate crimes linked to racist views connecting Asian Americans to the pandemic.
Nearly 75 people held a rally and vigil at the Columbia Chinese Baptist Church where their demonstration coincided with others across the nation, including an afternoon rally in McPherson Square in the District.
Atlanta-area authorities say at the moment there is no evidence to call the shootings, in which six of the eight killed were Asian, a federal hate crime.
Yet rally attendees said the shooting and the alarming surge in anti-Asian hate crimes coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic leaves them fearful.
Jean Xu, president of the Chinese American Parent Association in Howard County, expressed concerns over four Asian businesses burglarized or vandalized on the Chinese New Year in February.
Xu said it is important to keep racism against people of Asian descent in the national conversation in order to address it with policies.
"People are not talking about racism we are facing. People don't think that we are victims of racism as well," Xu said.