DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In response to the Atlanta spa shootings, the nonprofit Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation hosted a virtual emergency town hall on Tuesday night, March 23, addressing anti-Asian hate and violence.

Several nonprofits participated.

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“You look like my favorite anime character. Are your eyes even open? Me love you long time,” Chicago/Korean Adoptees of Chicago’s Jaye Hobart said during the town hall.

These are just some of the racist remarks she has received.

“I’ve heard firsthand from many other Asian American women about similar experiences,” she said.

“Words, jokes, they’re not harmless,” First Alaskans Institute’s Dr. E.R.J. David said. “They hurt people, they inflict violence on people.”

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 4 in 10 U.S. adults feel it has become more common for people to express racist views towards Asians since the pandemic began.

More than 25% of Asians fear someone might threaten or physically attack them.

In Texas, 103 hate crimes against Asian Americans have been reported in about the last year according to the nonprofit Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate.

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“We have been struggling to protect our loved ones from the spread of COVID-19 like everybody else, but we also had the spread the rampant anti-Asian violence,” HANA Center – Chicago‘s Inhe Choi said.

Participants say from hateful rhetoric, to suspected hate crimes like the Atlanta spa shootings, it has to stop.

“This targeted violence that resulted in killing of six Asian American women was especially hard because it accentuates the culture of sexualizing Asians,” Choi said. “Asian American women, we’re all really aware that imperialism, militarism and corporate greed dehumanize, displace and target us. Anti Asian hate has a long history in the U.S.”

“In sharing our stories and building relationships we believe we can begin healing together,” Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation – Dallas’ Stephanie Drenka said.

Organizers said through awareness and conversations like the one Tuesday night, transformational, sustainable changes can be made.

“I urge you not only to be outraged and grieved by the Atlanta shootings, but also see the Asians, the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders around you as more than just a headline,” Hobart said.

She said this is an opportunity to listen and learn.

“To most importantly stand up to Asian hate,” she said.

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CLICK HERE to watch the town hall.

Erin Jones