NEW YORK - Hundreds of New Yorkers of every color, creed, persuasion, stood shoulder to shoulder in Union Square Friday evening to decry the hate, the violence, the objectification, and racism, aimed at Asian-New Yorkers and Asian Americans.
"We need to acknowledge and see that this is deep-rooted and it’s been happening for a long time," says Tyler Chang.
"My family has been deeply affected by the fear and racism system in the country and we’ve come here to support our brothers and sisters," Erol Delos.
"I hope this show of solidarity at the vigil will empower others to take action and open their eyes to hate in the world right now," says Jessica Mao.
The vigil was an impromptu memorial for the eight victims of Tuesday's Atlanta murders.
It was a show of love, for those lives lost and a place to express anger and outrage at Georgia law enforcement, who questioned if the violence is in line with a hate crime and the classification the crimes the killer having a "bad day".
"He had his gun, he went into an Asian business looking to kill Asians… and then he did it again… and it’s a question of whether or not this was a hate crime? It’s outrageous," said State Senator John Liu.
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The vigil is also the culmination of a year when Asian-Americans have felt blamed for the pandemic and repeatedly targeted.
Nationally, 3,800 incidents of bias were reported in the past year. In New York City, 700 incidents were reported.
As the crowd listened, the message was simple: No matter your country of origin or color of your skin, New York stands with you, united against hate.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging New Yorkers to visit nyc.gov and Stop Asian Hate to learn more about how you can protect yourself and your neighbors. De Blasio is also asking those who are victimized to come forward so the city has a more accurate accounting of the problem.