(WXYZ) — Anxiety is the emotion Laura Misumi, of Hamtramck, felt Tuesday night as news broke of a shooting that killed eight people in the Atlanta area. The shooter was targeting spas and massage parlors; six of the eight victims were Asian women.
“Part of me has not really allowed myself to fully feel all of the impact of the past year,” said Misumi, executive director of Rising Voices of Asian American Families. “While the atrocities in Atlanta were particularly horrific, this is not the first example of anti-AAPI hate that has happened in the past year.”
That hate has escalated during the pandemic, with people and political leaders alike calling COVID-19 the "China virus," or "China flu."
“The World Health Organization has made quite clear we cannot attribute a pandemic or a virus to any particular country that does so much more harm than good,” Misumi said.
Rising Voices of Asian American Families is a Michigan-based, nonprofit organization aimed at helping Asian American women and their families by creating a community to make sure they know they are not alone.
Saturday morning, March 27, the organization is hosting a virtual event to connect, support, and share tips on how to handle anxiety.
“We want to acknowledge that for some people this may be the first time that they are feeling this type of anxiety,” Misumi said.
For others, it's not a first. It's a painful reminder of the discrimination they face in our country – especially Asian women.
“Asian American women have been stereotyped as being, you know, hyper-sexual. You know, fetishized, but also seen as kind of meek, subservient, and compliment in a lot of ways; it makes it an easier target,” Misumi said.
On Thursday, both the Michigan House and Senate passed resolutions condemning American hate crimes and encouraged Michiganders to report hate crimes to the proper authorities, including local police and the Michigan Attorney General's office.
“To my fellow Asian American Community members, I want to let you know we see you, we feel your pain and your fear," said Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit). "We know you feel worried about sending your kids to school with the potential for more bullying or are worried about your elderly Asian parents becoming a target just for walking down the street."
Chang says the resolution is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.
“While the resolution, you know we celebrate it – it is a great start," the senator said. "We also know in this circumstance we would have needed so much more to have prevented a crime like this from happening.”
The Michigan Attorney General’s office has a phone number where people can report hate crimes: 313-456-0200.