Following President Biden's condemnation of hate crimes targeting Asian Americans during his national primetime address Thursday, one Chicago organization is continuing its work combat the hate and misplaced blame largely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Catherine Shieh, anti-hate training coordinator with Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, says there's a sense of fear and sadness felt in the community.
"Whether that’s for us or our loved ones, or just knowing the possibility of being harassed and targeted is a very real reality every day," she explained to NBC 5.
From a retail shop on Chicago's Wentworth Avenue to a restaurant in the city's Chinatown Square, several businesses have experienced a drop in business since the onset of the pandemic.
Zoe Zhao, the owner of Veggie House restaurant, says she's finally seeing a boost in business and more tourists are returning to the vibrant Chinatown neighborhood.
"I hope we can bring more customers back and since winter is over, I believe it’s coming better," she said. "And I think the visitors will come back to Chinatown."
Shieh, meanwhile, said she has seen a demand for education classes as she works to eliminate the hurtful crimes, words and actions felt across the Asian American community.
"I love what I do, but I’m saddened there is no comparable job, and I hope we will see more training and these types of positions," she stated.
Those hoping to learn more about Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago are encouraged to take part in the organization's virtual training sessions, which will begin April 1. More information is available on the non-profit's website.