PHOENIX (AP) — Hundreds of people took to the streets at two different rallies in the Phoenix area to protest violence against people of Asian descent and show solidarity with the Asian community.
The largest gathering was at the Asian District in Mesa. A protest march ended at AZ International Marketplace, where a vigil was held.
Earlier on Saturday, protesters came together at Wesley Bolin Memorial Park in downtown Phoenix to stand against hate crimes that target Asians.
Rally organizers said there have been 3,800 victims of violence against Asians during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic with 42 of the incidents occurring in Arizona.
The violence turned deadly in Georgia on March 16 as spa shootings in Atlanta area left eight people dead including six Asian Americans.
U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton, a Democrat represents Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District, attended the Mesa rally and stood with the demonstrators.
“We need to stop Asian stereotyping and we need to make sure we treat crimes against the Asian community as a hate crime and prosecuted as a hate crime,” Stanton told Phoenix TV station KPHO. “We haven’t done a good job of tracking these types of crimes around the country.”