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'Attacks are still happening': Chicago's Asian American community says violence is still affecting them

Marking 1 year anniversary of deadly shooting rampage in Atlanta area 01:53

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago is marking the  one year anniversary of the shooting rampage that killed eight people, including six Asian women in the Atlanta area.

The victims were killed when a gunman opened fire at three separate spas. CBS 2's  Jim Williams takes a close look at the fear that still exists,12 months later.

In Chicago's Asian American community, fear crosses generations, according to Danae Kovac of the HANA Center.

"That's all the way from young people who afraid not only for themselves but also for mothers, their aunties, their grandmothers," Kovak said.

Just this past week, a 67-year-old Asian American woman was savagely beaten, punched and kicked dozens of times in Yonkers, New York. Police said the assailant shouted a racial slur at her.

"Unfortunately, these kinds of attacks are still happening," Kovak said.

Even before the more recent hate crimes and the Atlanta spa shootings one year ago, the numbers were staggering:
FBI statistics show hate crimes targeting Asian Americans jumped 77% from 2019 to 2020.

In Chicago, the number appears flat, but Grace Pai of the group Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, believes the level of violence is likely higher than the numbers indicate.

"There is so much fear in our community, especially among immigrants who may not be citizens, to even talk about the things that they're experiencing," Pai said. "And often times I think people feel like, they have to experience something, really extreme for it to be worth telling others about."

As many groups protest to call attention to anti-Asian hate crimes, Danae Kovac and Grace Pai agree that education is the key to reducing the violence.

"Because we have to look at the root causes," Pai said. "Why does anti Asian sentiment exist in the first place, right? What is motivating people to lash out against Asian Americans. And putting more police officers on the street is not going to address that problem."

With that in mind, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation last year requiring public schools in Illinois to teach Asian American history, to create greater empathy and understanding of the community.

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