Asian Americans feel unsafe due to COVID-19 related hate crimes

Some Asian American communities in Chicago feel unsafe amid COVID-19 related hate crimes.

Video Transcript

EVELYN HOLMES: Vanny Mann is really scared following the Atlanta attack that left eight people, most of them women of Asian descent, dead.

VANNY MANN: I just want to go work, and save, and feed my family at home. That's all.

EVELYN HOLMES: As the longtime owner of the Queen of Beauty Salon located near Broadway and Argyle in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, the Cambodian-American says, like many in her community, she's had to endure the threat of anti-Asian sentiment. Mann has resorted to closing her shop before sundown so she and her employees can make at home before dark.

Some of the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community don't want to talk publicly about their fear, which only grew after a white gunman allegedly went on a murderous shooting spree, killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage parlors. Six of the victims were Asian. Experts say since the pandemic, they've seen--

HONG LIU: --an increase the number of patients, especially the Chinese residents in the community, with the mental health stress, fear, anxiety, and even suicide attempt.

EVELYN HOLMES: The executive director of the Coalition for a Better Chinese-American Community adds that most of the roughly 4,000 hate crimes against their community were against Asian women. She blames stereotypes fostered, in part, through pornography.

GRACE CHAN MCKIBBEN: It perpetuates the stereotype that women, Asian women in particular, are sexual objects and that we are fetishized imaginations of people's-- in people's minds.

EVELYN HOLMES: Today, city officials, along with some community groups, gathered to condemn the violence. Chicago police are responding to fears of hate crimes against the Asian community, saying there's been no uptick in the crimes.

DON JEROME: Sometimes there's still a challenge of people feeling comfortable reporting, but we've really addressed that. We have a great relationship with the community.

EVELYN HOLMES: Meanwhile, Vanny Mann prays for the coronavirus to go away, along with the hate it has allowed to spread.

VANNY MANN: I think we live in the same world. We should like live together, help each other.

EVELYN HOLMES: Evelyn Holmes, ABC7 Eyewitness News.