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Advocates hold anti-Asian hate town hall in response to Asian hate crimes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The number of hate crimes against Asians has tripled, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

Advocates organized a community town hall to hopefully help change the odds. They are calling on Indiana to adopt hate crime legislation, and they hope introducing a five-point plan for organizations and companies to follow will help build partnerships.

Fighting against hate in all its forms has brought all the people in this room together. The latest battle at hand is hate against Asians.

“Our community has been hurt,” Rupal Thanawala, president of the Asian American Alliance said.

Last week, an Asian student was attacked with a knife while getting off a bus. Advocates say it was hate that motivated the attack and motivated this town hall with multiple organizations at the United Way.

“It’s hurtful but more than that, it prompted me and my fellow members of the association into taking action,” Benny Ko, with the Indiana Association of Chinese Americans said.

Ko says the attack is one of a list that’s steadily grown. Crimes against Asians have grown more than 300 percent according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

Thanawala facilitated the town hall and shared a personal experience.

“My own neighbor asked, ‘Why don’t you go back?’ I’ve been living in that house for 20 years,” she said. “These things, we face every single day.”

She says it’s important to shine a light on Indiana’s lack of hate crime legislation, while also looking beyond the law. Showcasing what individuals can do in educating employees, students, and constituents by looking at advocacy, accountability, ally, amplification, and accommodation.

“Don’t wait for another tragedy to drive us into taking further action,” Ko said.

The key to winning the battle is having all oppressed people stand in solidarity.