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"Protect Asian lives!" | Vigil held at Shelby Farms Park to denounce anti-Asian hate crimes and honor the lives of the Asian women killed in Atlanta

The vigil was held in light of the six Asian women killed in Atlanta

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Candlelight vigils were held across Tennessee Sunday evening to honor the six Asian women killed in Atlanta and an opportunity to speak out against anti-Asian hate crimes. Hundreds went to Shelby Farms Park to show solidarity after a year that has been exceptionally difficult for the Asian community due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"Stop anti-Asian hate crimes!" the crowd chanted.

Jianliang Cai, the spokesperson for the Greater Memphis United Chinese Association, said Asian people have been fearing violence every time they go out in public. 

"The violence has created fear among Asian Americans," Cai said. "People are afraid of going out, going to public places and events like this and they almost always watch over their shoulder to see who is around them because they are afraid someone could come behind them and attack them." 

He wants justice for all Asian people experiencing prejudice and violence. Cai said what happened to the women in Atlanta was undoubtedly fueled by racism and misogyny. 

"It was plain and simple," Cai said. "It is a hate crime against Asians and against women."

The racism against Asians has been heartbreaking but seeing people from all backgrounds at the vigil gave Helen Chi strength amidst this suffering. 

"It feels really good to have everybody supporting like this," Chi said.

Chi hopes this vigil inspires people to come together as one and eliminate hate. She said just words of kindness can go a long way. 

"That kind of love is what we are looking for," Chi said.