NewsRegion C Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach

Actions

Members of Asian-American community in Palm Beach County react to Atlanta attack

'The reality of anti-Asian racism is not acknowledged,' says community member
Posted at 12:08 AM, Mar 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-20 11:42:59-04

PALM BEACH, Fla. — The attack on 6 Asian women in Atlanta has drawn new attention to the wave of hate crimes since the start of the pandemic.

“The reality of anti-Asian racism is not acknowledged, that’s when it grows. It grows unchecked,” said Ryan Songalia, a first generation Filipino-American.

Songalia said the recent attacks of 6 Asian women in Atlanta are a continuation of historical racism and violence against Asian communities.

“This has been part of life for Asian Americans. Now, people are starting to see it and now we are starting to see it manifest as violence,” said Songalia.

The organization Stop AAPI Hate recently revealed that nearly 4 thousand incidents were reported since the start of the pandemic.

"I do have some anxiety," said Daniel Bell.

Bell is the secretary of Florida Atlantic University's Asian Student Union. Like many others, he was heartbroken to hear the tragedy that happened but shared his personal experiences out in public.

“ I always have the question in my mind, when people look at me, I am like, is it because I am Asian,” said Bell.

“Is this misogyny or is this racism? The reality it’s both,” said Takeata King Pang.

Pang is the executive director at the Women's Foundation of Florida based out of West Palm Beach.

She said a recent conversation in public made her realize more dialogue needs to happen.

“I mentioned how this all started because of rhetoric. Calling it the ‘Kung flu’ is what angers and gets people all worked up," explained Pang. " Three people in the room with me started laughing cause they thought it was funny. It was a joke to them. And I am literally talking about 6 lives that were just taken. That’s the reality. These aren’t bad people, these are people who see Asian-Americans as invisible.”

An issue she hopes is now visible and the catalyst for change.