CARY, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — More than 100 people gathered in Cary Saturday calling for an end to violence against Asian-Americans.
The gathering comes on the heels of an Atlanta shooting that left six Asian women dead.
Researchers say hate crimes against Asian-Americans have more than doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
That is why many said Saturday they feel it’s important that they speak out against it now.
Cary vigil attendees grieved the eight people shot and killed at Atlanta-area massage parlors. Six of those killed were Asian women.
The suspect claimed a sexual addiction led him to do it, but experts believe it could’ve been a racially motivated attack against Asian-Americans, which have been on the rise across the country since the pandemic.
More than 3,000 incidents were reported this past year.
“We are first-generation immigrants so we came here with almost nothing at all. We’re trying to bring a good life to my family and kids the American dream so we want them to live in a society that is truly equal and no racial discrimination,” said Zach Pan, who is a Cary resident.
Police were spotted at the vigil making sure things were safe for attendees. Those in attendance say what’s happening around the country is concerning but that the only way to combat the violence is by using their voices.
“We are worried. I also have kids who are worried so I want to say ‘hear our voice, we want to be a member of this family, make this country really great again’,” said GE Zhang, also of Cary.
Similar rallies were held in Atlanta and in other cities from coast to coast.
In San Francisco, hundreds gathered in Portsmouth Square, in the middle of Chinatown, to grieve the victims and to call for an end to racist and sexist violence against Asian Americans. The participants waved signs reading “stop Asian hate.”
In Pittsburgh, hundreds also rallied, and videos posted to social media showed former Grey’s Anatomy actress and Golden Globe Award winner Sandra Oh speaking to the crowd.
“I will challenge everyone here … If you see one of our sisters and brothers in need, will you help us?” she said, later yelling into a megaphone: “I am proud to be Asian! I belong here!”
In Chicago, about 300 people gathered and in New York City, hundreds marched from Times Square to Chinatown, news outlets reported.