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'It takes away any sense of self' local Asian Americans react to Atlanta massacre

Posted at 4:24 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 19:19:49-04

BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — The Atlanta spa shooting which claimed the lives of 8 people, is forcing America to take a deeper look at hate crimes against Asian Americans in this country.

Texas A&M University's Asian Presidents' Council, warned of a rise in cases of xenophobia and hate crimes towards Asian-Americans at the start of the pandemic.

The student organization's president says members have felt it.

"It's been really hard on the community. I know a few of our members were actually threatened at H-E-B last year, so that was definitely alarming, to see how close it is to your own community," Rikita Gangarapu, President, Asian Presidents' Council of Texas A&M University said.

In an ever-changing political climate, Gangarapu shared with 25 News, that learning of a gunman's homicidal attack in Atlanta, killing six Asian women in the process, reminded her of how harmful and how haunting now, stereotypes are in this country.

"I feel like Asian Women, in general, are very sexualized and also objectified, and I feel like this is kind of like a culmination of all of that," Gangarapu said.

And the role these stereotypes had, played into this deadly attack.

"It takes away any sense of self, it just honestly makes it really easy for some people to dehumanize Asian people. I feel like that's how we end up with incidents like Atlanta, which is truly extremely heartbreaking," Gangarapu said.

"It's sad. It's sad that people will attack somebody or show violence like that. It's just not the right thing to do," Tai Lee, owner, Solt said.

An Anti-Asian hate hearing between activists and lawmakers addressed the Atlanta attack.

"Whether the massacre in Atlanta was sex-based or race-based, it was hate-based and directed at Asian women no question about it," Congressman Hank Johnson, 4th District- GA said.

Gangarapu also discussed ways to stop hate-based crimes.

"What's important, is to listen to communities and to educate yourself," Gangarapu said.

"As one America, moving forward, we need to have a better dialogue and it needs to happen from both sides," Lee said.

The reported alleged gunman has been taken into custody.