NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Friday marks a national day of action and healing in the wake of a rising number of anti-Asian hate crimes.
#StopAsianHate is being used on social media to encourage everyone to stand up for Asian Americans during this challenging time.
On CBS2, you'll also see public service announcements featuring some of our colleagues.
CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reports on how the initiative started, and how we can all join together to stop Asian hate.
"We really just want to raise awareness of all these hateful incidents that have been happening to the Asian American community," said Rep. Grace Meng, who helped create the initiative, along with several other organizations.
She says the day is an opportunity for us all to condemn racism and discrimination, first by using the hashtag #StopAsianHate on social media, and second by speaking out to federal, state and local lawmakers along with corporations and foundations, asking them to invest more resources into the community.
"We're also asking people to initiate and have difficult and necessary conversations," Meng said. "For this moment in time to be here, when other communities are also speaking up in solidarity with us just means so much."
Organizers say March 26 was chosen because it was the day the Naturalization Act of 1790 was passed - an act that stopped nonwhite individual from becoming citizens.
A recent report has found anti-Asian hate crimes rose nearly 150% in major U.S. cities between 2019 and 2020. Advocates say in order to end the violence, support is necessary from all levels of government, corporations and from the masses.
"Asian Americans are a fabric of the United States, you know, society," said Asian Americans for Equality Co-Executive Director Jennifer Sun. "It's important for people to speak out because the anti-Asian rhetoric has had a dehumanizing effect."
These Asian Americans say they're glad the violence is finally being condemned.
"It feels like everyone is moving or becoming united so everyone can move toward a brighter future," one person said.
"I have a lot of Asian friends and I feel like it should be a given to be respectful," said another.
The day of solidarity will end Friday night with multiple virtual vigils to remember the victims of the Atlanta shooting. Six of the eight who were killed were Asian women.
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