AUSTIN (KXAN) — Campaigners gathered at the Texas Capitol Saturday afternoon to demand an end to violence and discrimination against Asian Americans.
Reports of anti-Asian hate crime have increased across the country over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rally comes after a mass shooting in Atlanta last month where eight people, including six of Asian descent, were killed.
In Austin, the City’s Equity Office described a “horrific” resurgence in anti-Asian racism within the local community in an interview with KXAN in March.
“There have been occurrences of verbal harassment, people being spit on, business owners receiving death threats,” said Rocío Villalobos, the Equity Office’s immigrant affairs coordinator.
People attending the rally Saturday demanded change at a statewide level.
“Our goals are to raise awareness of the discrimination against AAPI communities; to ask the Texas governments to condemn hate crimes and incidences; and to ask the lawmakers and policymakers to review the policies and procedures of handling thus racially charged incidences,” organizer Chuck Guo wrote.
Opening speeches were scheduled at about 4 p.m., before an open mic session where people were encouraged to share their stories of racial discrimination in Texas.
Anyone who attended the rally was asked to wear a mask and social distance from others where possible, organizers said.