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Asian American students at MSU students lean on each other as hate crimes rise

Posted at 6:31 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 18:31:26-04

MSU CAMPUS — As hate crimes against Asian Americans rise across the country, mid-Michigan's Asian American community is coming together.

“I’m sick of people dying for people to see our issues and our pain,” said Kaylee Commet the treasurer for MSU's Asian Pacific American Student Organization, or APASO.

On Thursday, Michigan State University students held a virtual town hall to discuss anti-Asian violence and share their stories of harassment.

Chloe Majzel is the president of APASO, the group that organized the event. For her, Thursday’s meeting felt like deja vu.

“Almost one year ago today, APASO held another town hall," Majzel said.

Michigan State University

"This was in-person regarding anti-Asian racism and the virus from China in March of 2020. One year later, we’re doing the same thing. This time the violence and racism is worse,” she said.

Earlier this month, a man shot and killed eight people at three different spas in Atlanta. Six of the victims were Asian women. The shooting comes after a string of attacks and assaults on Asian Americans throughout the U.S. since the pandemic began last March.

Commet says she’s concerned about all Asian Americans’ safety, but that she’s especially worried about one particular segment of community: the elders.

"I’ve heard my friends talk about their parents and say that they’re smaller, they’re usually weaker, they ask people for help and if they ask the wrong person for help at the grocery store, that could be the last time they ever see them," she said.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights investigates and processes discrimination complaints. James White, the department director, says Michigan recorded 14 complaints from Asian Americans in 2020. He also said that number might be deceptively low.

“In Michigan, we haven’t seen the numbers that other cities and states have seen, however that doesn’t necessarily mean that issues aren’t happening here. It could be an issue of reporting,” White said.

Commet says support from friends, family and allies is critical for the Asian American community at this time.

“Don’t wait until another person has to die before you choose to be an activist in this cause,” she said.

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