LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Lexington business owner is hoping to turn the conversation about anti-Asian violence into action following reports of a spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans.
A campaign that first started in 2019 to spread the message "Immigrants & Refugees Belong Here" has been relaunched, according to Dan Wu, owner of Atomic Ramen and community organizer.
"We live here. We're Lexingtonians, we're Kentuckians, we're Americans," Wu said.
T-shirts with the image, created by Cricket Press, can be purchased through this week with proceeds going towards the Kentucky Equal Justice Center's Maxwell Street Legal Clinic, which offers help with immigration cases. You can purchase the shirts on the Atomic Ramen Facebook page or on their Instagram (@atomicramen).
"I think we have to use it as a moment when people are paying attention to these kinds of issues to really create some change," Wu said.
in 2020, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by nearly 150% in America's 16 biggest cities, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
Much of the anti-Asian sentiment can be explained by misinformation and bias spread around the coronavirus, according to Amber Duke, deputy director of ACLU-Kentucky.
But moving forward, Wu wants to see groups that advocate for all marginalized communities come together to prevent violence before it happens in Lexington.
"We need to help make this a better place so that we never end up on the national news for those kind of terrible events," he said.