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Rallies give way to vigils as leaders, Asian community confront hate

A week of tragedy punctuated by moments of solidarity across the country have helped begin a healing process. But the road to trust remains a longer path.

ATLANTA — On Saturday night, more people gathered to remember the eight shooting victims a man killed Tuesday at three spas in metro Atlanta. Six of them were Asian women.

The killings sparked fear and anger in the Asian community, but they came together Saturday, organizing a rally with hundreds of people in downtown Atlanta.

“It is important for Asian American voices to be heard and for us to be visible to the rest of America, to speak out, to stop the rising violence against Asian Americans,” one of the speakers said.

They’re also calling on state leaders to act and bring change.

Representative Marvin Lim is one of those leaders.

“There are communities that, for so many years, so many people felt under presented. I think it’s important we continue to place those voices on other people,” said Rep. Lim.

He said the goal is to also make sure Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities are protected now and in the future, voicing that to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris this week.

“We’re going to push local law enforcement outside of the law-making process," he said. "We’re going to continue to make sure their voices are heard and make it into the policies that make sure the victims of those who have felt harmed, that their situations and problems are redressed.”

Charlies Li, who was at Saturday’s vigil said he’s hopeful change will come but it takes residents plus lawmakers.

“All we need is the peace for our environment and for us to prosper and seek our dreams in this country,” said Li.

Representative Lim said a key piece to the puzzle here is to build a bridge between the AAPI communities and police so that Asian Americans don’t fear reporting hate crimes.

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