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Williamsburg community shows support for Asian Americans in wake of Atlanta shooting

Remembering Atlanta victims
Posted at 10:37 PM, Mar 21, 2021

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The pain felt by families of victims in Atlanta is reverberating across the country and in Williamsburg.

About 30 community members gathered at the Williamsburg James City Courthouse Sunday night. A priest led the group into prayer, citing a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he said.

Grassroots group Williamsburg Action organized the candlelight vigil to remember the lives lost in last Tuesday’s shooting at spas that killed eight people. Six of the victims were Asian women.

Williamsburg Action President Antonia Saunders said they wanted to spread their message that they will not stand for hate.

“We stand in support of them,” said Saunders. “Everyone does not feel that way and we know that the things they are experiencing are unfair.”

The vigil comes as attacks and violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are on the rise.

Johnny Leung is Chinese American. He was born in Hong Kong but grew up in America. He said he’s experienced that hate firsthand.

“This was years ago where I’ve gone into a McDonald’s and one of the workers said outrightly, ‘You’re not welcomed here,’” he said.

Leung, who lives in Yorktown, said he believes he was being targeted because of his race. News 3 asked Leung why the employee said that to him.

“No excuse; no reason and I just left,” said Leung.

Leung, like many others, doesn’t know the victims in last week’s mass shooting, but felt compelled to be at the vigil showing support.

He and dozens of others across the country are now calling for justice.

“My heart goes out to all those impacted, the victims and their family members and their friends,” Leung said. “It’s really sad and something definitely needs to be done.”

The group hopes to put an end to racially motivated attacks, so no one ever has to live in fear.