Society and Education

Asian American community leaders in Southern California call for action to address gun violence 2023/3/15 source: hit: 50 Print

LOS ANGELES, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Asian American community leaders called for solutions to gun violence ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden's scheduled visit on Tuesday to Southern California's Monterey Park, where 11 people were killed during a mass shooting earlier this year amid celebrations to mark the Lunar New Year, local media reported.

The bloodshed has intensified fears about gun violence among those in the Asian Pacific Islander community on the heels of a rising tide of hate crimes in recent years, reported the Los Angeles Daily News.

Monterey Park is one of the nine Asian-majority cities in San Gabriel Valley, which is home to more than half a million Asian Americans, said the report.

U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, the first Chinese American woman ever elected to U.S. Congress, was quoted as saying by the report that the shooting "sends chills" throughout the whole Asian-American community.

According to the report, Asian Americans have faced a rising tide of hate crimes in recent years.

There have been 10,905 hate incidents against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders between March 19, 2020, to December 31, 2021, said the report, citing data from STOP AAPI Hate, a coalition launched in March 2020 by a multigroup of Asian-American civic organizations to track and respond to incidents of hate, violence and harassment to their community.

"After three years of trauma that so many of us are living with day in and day out, it's critical that we have the conversation around gun safety given what has happened," Manjusha Kulkarni, the executive director of AAPI Equity Alliance and a co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, was quoted as saying by the report.

Kulkarni said in the report that around 3,000 Asian Americans are impacted by gun violence every year, with women and elderly people in the AAPI community having disproportionately experienced verbal harassment, racism, discrimination, and sometimes physical attacks.

The Asian American community needs "elected officials to rise to the challenge, and pass legislation to keep all of our communities in California and throughout the U.S. safe," she said.