kyw: City leaders, residents take stand against Asian hate at Philly town hall

By John McDevitt KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A week after a gunman opened fire at spas around Atlanta — killing eight people, six of them women of Asian descent — calls are growing to put a stop to Asian hate.

U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans joined City Councilmember Mark Squilla and the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation at the Crane Community Center Tuesday afternoon to show their support for members of the community, offer solutions and listen.

“The importance of the town hall is to send a message that this hatred and violence against the Asian community is unacceptable,” said Evans. “I join with them in fighting back against this hatred, as the president of the United States just did last week in Atlanta.

“We are sending a message to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection: These are our Asian brothers and sisters and we got to work together and fight against this.”

Community members expressed fears and the need for the allocation of funds to support their fight against hate, including funding for Asian studies in the school system.

Naroen Chin, who is Cambodian American, attended the town hall.

“It’s always worth it where you see community leaders advocating on behalf of the community and we echo the same messaging,” he said. “It’s a way of expressing our voice that we are here. We are American too. For so long people don’t think we are Americans. They always tell us, ‘go back home.’ I’m like, ‘which home?’ ”

Rob Buscher, a fourth-generation Japanese American and president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, said education about the history of this country is important.

“My great-grandparents were displaced from their farm in California that they worked for 20 years simply because they had a different color skin and different shaped eyes,” he said. “My great-uncle volunteered to fight Nazis from an American concentration camp during World War II and yet people that looked just like him or his daughter or his sister are being victimized today.”