BALTIMORE — A vigil was held in Baltimore Monday night to honor the victims in the Atlanta spa shootings.
More than a hundred people were in attendance to show solidarity with the Asian-American community as they called for the growing violence to come to an end.
“The recent incidents are not isolated incidents as some people might make them out to be,” said Marlo Lacson, who is a first-generation Filipino immigrant. “They’re indicative of a much larger problem with our nation of racism, oversimplifying people to their labels.”
Eight people were killed in the shootings, including six Asian women.
Police arrested suspected gunman Robert Aaron Long, 21, who has been charged with eight counts of murder and one count aggravated assault. Authorities have not ruled out race as a factor in the shootings.
The killings come amid an increase in hate crimes against Asian-Americans across the country. According to a recent study, hate crimes against Asian-Americans increased 150 percent from 2019 to 2020.
Lacson said called the Atlanta shooing emotional, adding the past few weeks have been incredibly tough for him. He also said he's experienced racism over the years.
“I have received dirty looks from people in the grocery store,” he said. “I always feel like I had to prove my worth to my peers and my superiors that i deserved to occupy space in my community.”
He said the amount of support the Asian-American community received at the vigil and across the country is “beautiful”.
Lacson said it gives him confidence to know they’re not alone in their fight to stand up against hate.
“I hope that this won’t become some trend that comes and go's and I hope that it will be a wakeup call for all of Americans to rise up and see what has been happening for centuries now so maybe we can start making some change,” he said.