DALLAS — The City of Dallas hosted two "Stop Asian Hate" rallies Saturday.
Anti-Asian racism and violence have been a major concern.
Christine Lee had a microphone and a message not just for the dozens on hand for a "Stop Asian Hate" rally, but for the entire country.
“I am not just Korean American," Lee said, her voice full of emotion. “I am Korean and American -- two beautiful cultures interwoven in me."
A second rally, happened just hours later outside Dallas City Hall, where the group may have been smaller, but Oanh Moss said the message was loud and clear.
“To stand up against hate towards the Asian community,” Moss told WFAA.
The movement comes after a rise in aggression against Asian-Americans, both in well-documented acts of violence like the mass shooting incident in Atlanta, but also racist comments in casual settings that are becoming more and more common, Oanh said.
“There was like a group of people in the booth behind me that said, 'Oh, great, we’re sitting right behind coronavirus,'” Oanh recalled of a recent dinner outing.
According to Stop AAPI Hate, between March 2020 and February 2021, nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate were reported, 103 of them in Texas.
The rise comes as some, including former President Donald Trump, blamed the global coronavirus pandemic on a single country -- China.
“People are coming out of the woodwork, because when a public figure is saying, it’s okay,” said Lee.
Jonas Park, who co-organized the rally with Lee, said while political differences are a matter of opinion and up for debate, racism is not, and never will be.
“They’re trying to make this a political issue,” Park said. “It’s not really a political issue. It’s about human rights issues. What we are asking is to be treated equally with respect.”
Incidents of violence are only part of the problem, according to the organizers.
“We are constantly the butt of the joke and that needs to stop,” Lee said. “In the media, in the movies, in TV, Asian-Americans are constantly pegged as the foreigner portrayed with thick accents."
Click here to learn more about Stop AAPI Hate.