Saturday seminar to focus on stopping anti-Asian hate crimes
An increase in anti-Asian racism and attacks has Asian Americans across the Chicago region on edge, say community leaders.
"People are scared to go out because the crime rate has gone up drastically," said Jan Zheng, of Naperville, who is organizing an online conference Saturday on stopping anti-Asian hate crimes.
Zheng said the seminar was planned before Tuesday's shootings at three Georgia massage parlors that claimed the lives of eight people.
Six of the victims were women of Asian descent.
Since last March, there's been a nationwide uptick in incidents of bias, including verbal and online harassment, physical attacks and civil rights violations against Asians -- nearly 3,800 reported cases, according to Stop AAPI Hate. Mostly, they have been targeted toward the elderly, women and children.
Three people have been killed in Chicago's Chinatown within the past 12 months in what community members believe were racially motivated attacks, said Zheng, who is a member of the Chinese American Association at Greater Chicago -- an umbrella group for 147 organizations.
She and other community leaders are trying to put pressure on the Cook County state's attorney's office to prosecute the killings as hate crimes.
In the suburbs, there has been one case of an elderly Chinese American man being attacked while jogging along a Naperville trail last March and many more incidents of verbal abuse, Zheng added.
The conference begins at 2 p.m. on Zoom, and it will be livestreamed on Dragon EagleTV's YouTube channel. Speakers include U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and state Reps. Theresa Mah, Denyse Wang Stoneback, and Janet Yang Rohr.
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