FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Lunar New Year is one of the biggest celebrations in Asian cultures. Celebrations are limited this year as this pandemic continues and a recent spike in Anti-Asian hate crimes has many in the community on guard.
North Carolina's Asian communities are on high alert as reports of Anti-Asian hate crimes surface nationwide.
"Grief and frustration. It's a frustration for a lack of visibility," said Ricky Leung, senior director of programs at North Carolina Asian Americans Together. "A lot of times we're only visible when there are acts of violence."
NCAAT is the only Pan-Asian social justice organization statewide. Organizers say this kind of violence is not new. It's an ongoing issue rooted in systemic racism. Leung believes the former administration didn't make things easier.
"Policies and rhetoric that were anti-immigrant blamed a lot of the outbreak of the coronavirus on China and Chinese Americans," said Leung.
The organization launched a portal last year to fight back. It gives victims a voice to report incidents even if they choose to remain anonymous. The confidential data will hopefully be used to gain allies at the statehouse.
Data from Stop Asian American Pacific Islander hate shows last year there were nearly 3,000 reported incidents of racism and discrimination targeting Asian Americans nationwide. Between March and December, 24 of those accounts happened in North Carolina.
Yeung says this won't stop Asian cultures from celebrating the Lunar New Year. This year the focus is on uniting and building a safer community together.
"Folks are protecting themselves by seeking community with each other," said Yeung.
'Grief and frustration': NCAAT reacts to hate crimes targeting Asian communities