"The crime wave against Chinese American community has increased the past year. People literally telling their family members to stay in and stay away."
CATE CAUGUIRAN: Chicago Asian-American leaders gathered the state and city's key players in government and law enforcement to bring attention to an issue unfortunately already well-known in their communities.
JAN ZHENG: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, and even before that, the AAPI community has been a target of unfair blame, discrimination, and violence.
CATE CAUGUIRAN: The Chinese American Association of Greater Chicago hosted an online seminar, moderated by ABC 7's Judy Hsu, discussing hate crimes against the Asian-American and Pacific-Islander communities and what can be done to prevent and better report them.
JAN ZHENG: The number of hate incidents reported represents only a small fraction of the numbers-- hate crimes that actually occurred.
CATE CAUGUIRAN: Stop AAPI Hate reported at least 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents, mostly against women, in the past year. The seminar comes less than a week after six Asian-American women were allegedly killed by a white man in Atlanta.
JANET YANG ROHR: This week's tragedy is-- it should be a wake-up call to all of us that anti-Asian hate is real.
RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI: That was a hate crime, pure and simple. He wasn't just having a, quote unquote, "bad day."
CATE CAUGUIRAN: The tragedy now sparking a nationwide conversation on the ongoing and overlooked discrimination against the AAPI community.
TONI PRECHWINKLE: We surely can't suggest that, when someone goes out and murders people, most of whom are Asian-Americans, that this somehow isn't a hate crime.
KWAME RAOUL: Events such as the past week's slayings in Georgia are frightening, they're traumatic, and they're simply unacceptable.
CATE CAUGUIRAN: Representatives from the Chicago Police Department and Cook County Sheriff's Office discuss their existing and ongoing efforts to connect with the AAPI community and to help encourage people to report possible hate crimes. State leaders are also looking at education as a preventative tool, working to pass the TEAACH Act that would add Asian-American history to Illinois K-through-12 curriculum.
THERESA MAH: Our contributions have gone unacknowledged and ignored. And Asian-Americans remain largely invisible in our country's history.
CATE CAUGUIRAN: The one thing all leaders from community, state, to law enforcement all agreed on is that, from now on, to be silent is to be complicit and that there are no excuses from hiding behind what has been the reality for this community for so long.