Violent “hate crimes” against Asian Americans are on the rise in the United States and around the world. Politicians, celebrities and other influencers are coming together to show their support of the Asian American community.

HOUSTON, TX, March 22, 2021 /Neptune100/ — Recent reports show that there has been a marked increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans around the country, with some communities experiencing 150% hate crime increases since 2019. Shootings that occurred in Atlanta at three different spas on the afternoon of March 16th left six Asian Americans dead.

People all around the country are standing in solidarity against these hate crimes on the Asian American community. Celebrities, athletes and social movement leaders are speaking up against acts of violence like this that have been targeting against Asian-Americans through social media and protests. Talk show host Trevor Noah commented on his Wednesday segment: “If that’s not racism then the word has no meaning.” Other people on social media also stood against the violent acts as the hashtag Stop Asian Hate was trending number one on Twitter the night of the Atlanta attack.

Over 3,800 hate incidents have been reported from March 2020 to February 2021 in the US alone, citing the reason as the origin of the COVID-19 virus from China. These incidents have driven residents of predominately Asian-American communities to call on their local Police Departments to send extra patrol officers to their areas.

Unfortunately, the type of violent attack seen in Atlanta is not the first of its kind targeting Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month in Manhattan, a Chinese man was stabbed with a knife in the back by a stranger while walking home. One incident that ended in a hate crime prosecution was a Taiwanese man who wrote anti-Chinese graffiti on several businesses in New York City. Other localized incidents in the same area have been reported including a group of four teenage girls who assaulted and elderly Asian women on a bus. Sadly, many attacks like these are not charged as hate crimes because of the difficulty in proving racist motives.

Violent physical attacks are not the only way that Asian Americans are being singled out. One South Korean church group called Shincheonji Church of Jesus received international media attention after a localized COVID-19 outbreak occurred in a church location in Daegu in February of 2020. Some outlets called the church group members “super-spreaders” after a 61-year-old church member who unknowingly had COVID-19 attended a worship service. In the coming months, about 5,000 church members out of their 300,000 members tested positive for the virus, or approximately 40% of the country’s cases. Other slanderous conspiracy theories were released, including the disproven claim that Shincheonji members were not allowed to wear masks during worship services.

Facts were soon revealed that Shincheonji church closed all locations and moved all meetings to online after the first confirmed case in the congregation, and they cooperated with Korean officials to perform contact tracing on members who were potentially positive for the virus. Despite this, the stigma surrounding Shincheonji members caused many to lose their jobs, experience persecution from their families and some even faced physical assault. Korean officials then arrested multiple church leaders, stating that they had violated the Infectious Diseases Prevention Act and were even guilty of murder. When the Shincheonji leaders went to trial, all were found innocent on the COVID-19 charges. However, the damage had already been done and international media had darkened the reputation of the church and its members.

The persecution and violence against Asian people in the United States and around the world deeply strikes emotions as other social movements are working in parallel. Judy Chu, a Representative who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus spoke for many in a tweet on the night of the Atlanta shooting: “As we wait for more details to emerge, I ask everyone to remember that hurtful words and rhetoric have real life consequences. Please stand up, condemn this violence, and help us #StopAsianHate.”