CHICAGO (CBS) — A huge crowd gathered in Chinatown on Saturday afternoon to stand up against hate in the wake of recent attacks on the Asian American community.

Chinatown Square was packed with people painting a picture of unity.

“Black people, Asian people, White people; we should all be speaking as one,” one speaker said.

A message of change Saturday at Chinatown Square, educating those who still hold negative perceptions of the Asian community.

“I feel it personally,” said Henry Lee, who has been a victim of attacks on people of Asian descent. “I mean we’re all human.”

The rally came nearly two weeks after a gunman shot and killed eight people at three Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent.

A new study based on police department statistics across major U.S. cities found a nearly 150% surge in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020, while overall hate crimes fell by 7%. The numbers reflect a growing trend of discrimination against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s why people of all colors, backgrounds, and religions got involved in Saturday’s rally in Chinatown.

“We feel like we have a responsibility to be here, and kind of show up and show out in a really public way,” Bumper Carroll said.

This rally, the second in the last two weeks, is the beginning of an ongoing battle to stop hate crimes against Asians.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Congressman Danny Davis said.

Over the past year, the pandemic has heightened the hatred in a community hit by break-ins, burglaries, and hate crimes.

“Even well before this past year, we’ve seen attacks against members of our community,” said Illinois State Rep Theresa Mah (D-Chicago).

This community is hoping to change the tune.

In the last couple years, the city has installed updated lighting and hired more Asian-speaking police officers to help. But organizers of the rally said that’s still a long way from solving the problem.


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