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Indiana agency creates petition calling for end to violence against Asians

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indiana organization is taking a stand against the spike in violence against Asian Americans. It falls in line with marking one year since the coronavirus became a global pandemic.

Indiana chapter of the National Asian American Women’s Forum has been collecting signatures for a petition asking the governor and other leaders to publicly denounce violence against Asians.

The agency is also hoping the governor will consider creating an advisory board to get direct feedback from Asian community members.

At the start of 2020 we first heard about a mystery virus wreaking havoc in Asia. The mystery was eventually solved. And on March 11, 2020, the spread of coronavirus was declared a pandemic.

Ellen Wu said she was celebrating the Lunar New Year with friends when the coronavirus news broke

“I can’t say I was prepared but I can’t say that I expected it and unfortunately my expectations played out,” said Wu, who is a member of the NAAWF.

She said there’s been a long history of xenophobia and negative associations with people of Asian ancestry and related disease. Something told her this virus would push that to an even bigger scale. And said crimes against Asians and Pacific Islanders are growing.

“The organization itself is focused on racial justice, gender concerns, health care and those kinds of real substantial issues that I think matter for Asian Americans and other communities of color,” she said.

The agency is behind a petition headed to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office, asking that he condemn violence against Asians, and take steps to create support measures. It’s already got more than 1,000 signatures and 24 other agencies have endorsed it. Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations (JCRC) council is one of them.

“Honestly hate affects us all. And when one community is being harassed or harmed it’s an attack on all of us,” said Aaron Welcher with the JCRC.

The Jewish community has also reported spikes in hate crimes over the last few years. And Welcher said it’s important to stand in solidarity on issues like this to hopefully rid the world of it.

“Just having that support and feeling seen and heard is so important.”

Wu says the petition isn’t asking for more law enforcement, but long-term cultural, competent ways to deal with the issues.

Gov. Holcomb released the following statement to News 8:

“Anyone that seeks to terrorize or cause fear needs to be held accountable for that. Racism is counter to Hoosier values. It’s not what we stand for. I championed and signed a historic bias crimes law in 2019 to protect those who are the target of these crimes and to take a strong stand against targeted violence. There is no higher priority than the safety and security of Hoosiers.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb