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How can we address anti-Asian racism? Ask our reporters

Actor George Takei, author of “They Called Us Enemy,” joins a discussion with Times staffers Teresa Watanabe, Anh Do and Ada Tseng about escalating anti-Asian violence.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, racism and hate crimes directed at the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have skyrocketed. Between March 2020 and February 2021, 3,795 racially motivated attacks against Asian Americans were reported, according to a study by the group Stop AAPI Hate.

On March 16, the violence escalated further when a gunman killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent, at spas in the Atlanta area.

But anti-Asian racism is not a new phenomenon. In the wake of the pandemic and the Atlanta shootings, many in the APPI community have come forward with stories of racist attacks and oppression going back decades. That’s why we’ve put together a special edition of Ask A Reporter, our virtual event series where L.A. Times staff members offer a deeper look at the issues behind the headlines.

On Wednesday, March 24, at 6 p.m. Pacific time, Times journalists Teresa Watanabe, Anh Do and Ada Tseng and special guest George Takei will discuss the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. They’ll talk about the history of racist policies in California, how they’ve coped with the recent violence and shootings in Atlanta, and ways to support the Asian community in this time.

Watch this edition of Ask A Reporter on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

Since before pandemic lockdowns and closures hit California, racism and violence have been targeted at people of Asian descent here, around the U.S. and beyond.

About 68% of the anti-Asian attacks documented during the pandemic were verbal harassment, 21% were shunning and 11% were physical assaults.

Asian American activist Ana Iwataki is guided by a powerful teacher, her aunt Miya Iwataki, whose roots stretch to the 1960s and the Brown Berets.

Violence and hate incidents directed at Asian Americans have surged across California since the pandemic, with some blaming Asians because of the coronavirus’ origins in Wuhan, China.

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With “They Called Us Enemy,” George Takei details childhood years in Japanese Americans internment camps.


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