Social justice advocates, celebrities call for change amid spike in unprovoked attacks on Asian Americans

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Thursday, February 18, 2021
Celebs call for change amid unprovoked attacks on Asian-Americans
STOP THE VIOLENCE: Olivia Munn, Awkwafina join rising chorus of celebrity voices calling for change as police investigate a string of attacks against Asian-Americans.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Social justice advocates and celebrities like Olivia Munn are calling for change after a string of violent attacks against Asians and Asian Americans have been reported in San Francisco, Oakland, New York and across the U.S.

ABC News correspondent Juju Chang featured a rising chorus of voices united against hate Thursday on Good Morning America.

"Throughout the pandemic advocates say that all of the massive fear and anxiety brought on by COVID-19 has been weaponized against the Asian-American community," said Chang. "This recent spate of incidents has so many people united, saying stop the violence."

In New York, police are investigating an attack on an Asian-American woman outside a bakery in Queens.

The startling assault was caught on surveillance video.

Many in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community believe the attacks are motivated by hate, but the NYPD says it is not currently investigating the latest case as a hate crime.

Hollywood A-listers are bringing attention to the alarming problem.

Actress Olivia Munn says she has a personal connection to the assault in New York.

"My friend's mom is a 5'3" 50+ Chinese woman and she was attacked," Munn posted on Instagram. "She left the hospital with 10 stitches in her head. These racist hate crimes against our elders have got to stop. We're gonna find this guy."

"Crazy Rich Asians" actress Awkwafina is also speaking out, saying "don't want to wake up to more of this."

RELATED: 70-year-old Oakland woman seen attacked, robbed by 2 men after returning from bank

"Hawaii Five-O" star Daniel Dae Kim helped spark the campaign against hate after a series of attacks against elderly Asian-Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area.

RELATED: Actors Daniel Dae Kim, Daniel Wu discuss violent crimes against Asian Americans in Bay Area

"These are people that are elderly, often with pre-existing conditions, who are already afraid to go outside and now they're fearing for their lives," said Kim.

A generation of young activists, like William Lex Ham, are also taking on the mantle of racial equity.

"We're seeing a rise of so many Asian Americans who are just sick and tired of being invisible, being ignored and they're utilizing their platforms, their circles of influence to demand to be seen," said Ham.

Ham spent Lunar New Year weekend patrolling San Francisco's historic Chinatown, and learning from local leaders, hoping to stop the hate.

"They're utilizing their relationships with Black community leaders, and a lot of the solidarity work that has been happening here to condemn the violence, to condemn the anti-Asian hate crimes," said Ham.

Asian American leaders say that they want to respect elders and protect them but at the same time they want to break cultural stereotypes that Asians are quiet or reserved. Many say they were inspired by the George Floyd protests and now is the time for everyone to unify and call for racial healing.