Chicago Asian American advocacy groups feel urgency in wake of Georgia spa shootings

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Groups in Chicago already working to stop hate by supporting women of Asian descent who are affected by violence are feeling a new urgency in their mission after the Georgia spa shootings.

Denise Huang supports and advocates for survivors of violence KAN-WIN, whose clients are Asian American women who have been targeted for harassment and abuse. She said in recent days essentially all Asian American women have needed support.

"There have been so many tears and choked breath and, you know, crying alone," she said.

Huang said the Atlanta shootings have brought up issues that rarely get attention.

"From the actual occurrence, the news, the coverage, the discussion, since it's been incredibly traumatizing, triggering and heavy," Huang said.

"What I'm hoping is that this tragedy serves as a unifying cause," said Yoonsun Choi, professor at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice.

Prof. Choi said most of those who report harassment among Asian Americans are women, but now there is an opportunity to move on from awareness to action.

"Silence is not going to protect anybody, and keeping your head down and working hard is not paying off," she said.

"We've had a very difficult past and we'll have a very difficult future if we don't do something about it right now," Huang said. "There is a sense of urgency."
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