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Southwest Floridians speak out against racial discrimination towards Asian Americans

Posted at 1:22 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 13:22:18-04

SOUTHWEST, Fla. —
It’s the burden of sudden, unforeseen loss.

“Parents are not designed to bury their children.”

Pearl Cruz, President, of Asian Professionals Association of Southwest Florida, says she cannot imagine the pain families impact by Tuesday’s shooting are enduring.

“What happened 48 hours ago was just devastating, and it can happen to us.”

The fear of something similar happening again has pushed Cruz and others to speak out against racial discrimination against Asian Americans.

Investigators in Tuesday’s shooting that left eight people dead in Atlanta - six of who were Asian.

Officials said Wednesday that the shooter had a “really bad day” on Tuesday - possibly tying the motive to sexual addiction.

They have not ruled it a hate crime.

Cruz disagrees.

“The strategy of downplaying death is almost putting a disregard to the value of human life.”

Dr. Colin Feng, a local Certified Financial Planner and member of the Asian Professionals Association of Southwest Florida, agrees with Cruz.

“It’s clear to me it’s a hate crime. No doubt about it,” Feng tells FOX 4.

Data from the STOP the AAPI Hate (Asian American Pacific Islander) organization has reported 3,795 hate incidents between March 2020 and February 2021. The majority of incidents reported were cases of verbal harassment, according to the organization’s most recent report.

Dr. Feng shares a personal, recent experience that he explains was someone’s “slip of the tongue”.

“Matter of fact, last month I was called a ‘Chinaman’,” he recalls.

That’s why Feng, Cruz and others within the Asian-American community opted to share their concerns and experiences, they say.

Eradicating racism, Feng and Cruz both say, starts with a reality check.

“Put yourself in that situation, and see how you’d react,” Cruz says.