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Local leaders come together to condemn hatred, violence against Asian American community

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 6:51 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - In the wake of violence against the AAPI community, Tallahassee faith-based leaders are coming together to condemn the violence targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

This comes after 8 people were killed in Atlanta massage parlors last week, where six of those victims were Asian women.

Civil rights leaders and faith based leaders gathered on the balcony of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Wednesday to say that the violence and hatred toward the Asian American community has happened long before the pandemic began.

They, like many others, have been disturbed by the recent violence and want the AAPI community to know they stand by them.

Reverend R.B. Holmes with Bethel Missionary Baptist organized the meeting.

“To see that happening to innocent people who just simply were trying to make a living, you know, trying to live the American dream and not the American nightmare,” Holmes said.

Holmes said that Tallahassee thankfully hasn’t been plagued by the amount of Asian American racism like other parts of the country, but quotes the late Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Standing right beside Holmes was business owner Eric Egnia, who owns a Fillipino restaurant, Real Sarap, in Tallahassee.

He said he hasn’t really felt threatened while living in Tallahassee, a place he’s called home since the early 2000s, but in the wake of the Atlanta shooting, he feels he needs to protect himself.

“We need to prepare, I guess,” Egnia said. “We don’t need to be like a sitting duck, we have to defend ourselves also.”

The group said they won’t stop fighting for people like Eric and other races that have been plagued by hatred.

President of the Tallahassee Urban League, Curtis Taylor, said, “We will not stop fighting until all races can go to the park, all races can jog into a community, and all races can sleep at night and not worry about being killed.”

The leaders also said they founded the organization Capital Area Justice Ministry, which will focus on providing more inclusion to different groups of color. They said it already has more than 30 pastors committed.

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