Springfield, Ill.- Following last week's shootings at Atlanta spas, killing multiple Asian women, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker spoke in support of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
He said the attacks weren't isolated, but part of a larger problem that he believes can be solved at home. Pritzker stressed he understands what this community is going through. He said he recognizes the fear and anxiety these events have caused.
"And I want you to know that Illinois is your home," said Pritzker. "You are our friends and our neighbors and our family members and I will do everything in my power as Governor to protect you and to welcome you."
Julia Ting, Chapter Leader for the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, said women report more than 68-percent of anti-Asian harassment and violence acts.
She explained the fear and confusion she felt as she read that six innocent Asian were killed.
"I looked in the mirror and wished that I could trade out my face for another, for one that makes me less of a target for the sexualization that too often comes with violence," said Ting. "But, I am not what is wrong and it is not Asian women who are wrong. We are not the ones that need to change."
Ting wants Illinois lawmakers to do more than just condemn last week's attacks. She said the state needs policy change to improve safety for Asian-American and Pacific Islanders.
"This was personal"
Meanwhile, other advocates said understanding and knowing about the acts of hate is key in preventing them in the future. Rep. Janet Yang Rohr (D-Naperville) said that happens with education.
"Our community is just too used to being used as scapegoats to being subject to these moments of being considered outsiders, perpetual foreigners in a country where we have been here for generation after generation," said Yang Rohr.
Eva Nip, Lead Organizer with the Coalition for a better Chinese American Community, said years of misogyny, oppression, and white supremacy have lead to these violent acts.
"The tragedies in Atlanta hit my heart deeply because this was personal," said Nip. "This could have been any of our mothers."