Real fears among Asian-American women following mass killings in Georgia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There are real fears, particularly among Asian American women, due to the rise in hate crimes. Those fears were highlighted recently in Georgia after a series of shootings left eight people dead.

But, more broadly, what has been happening against Asians since the arrival of the pandemic.

Since the mass killings in Georgia, some Asian-American women have expressed fears and concerns about walking out in public.

"This is the first time since the news that I've been walking out on the streets, and it definitely made me think twice about walking out on the streets, and it made me just be a little more conscious of my race than I typically am," said Emily of Chinatown.

They say the community was already being vilified, scapegoated, and wrongfully blamed for the start of the pandemic. And then came the killings in Georgia.

"What can you avoid at this point? Are you just avoiding people who look like they're unhappy? People who look like they're having a bad day?" asked Mei Wang of Fishtown.

There are discussions among community leaders in Chinatown about forming a crime watch amid recent events.

"People are afraid in Philadelphia, people are angry, that we see across the country these attacks against innocent and harmless vulnerable people," said John Chin, executive director of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation.

There is also frustration that the killings in Georgia and other incidents across the country have not been classified as hate crimes.

"But that doesn't prevent us as human beings from identifying what we are seeing. Which is hate crime and violence against a particular group of people," said Chin.

Some are also alarmed that many Asians are fearful or reluctant to speak up about what is going on.

"You shouldn't be afraid to speak up because if you don't speak up, these attacks escalate. Bigger and bigger, and when will it be your family? When will it be your mom?" said Mei Wang.

Community leaders are planning a series of listening sessions in the coming days with law enforcement and other agencies to combat xenophobia, intolerance, and hate.
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