SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – The latest mass shooting in California left seven Asian and Latino farm workers dead, a reminder of the racial discrimination that still exists today.

While there’s been a surge of anti-Asian violence over the past few years, especially during the pandemic, the history of racial discrimination toward this population goes back much further.

When the pandemic hit, renewed sentiments of discrimination toward Asians began to surface
as racist rhetoric surrounding COVID-19 circulated. This community, however, has historically been discriminated against, from the banning of Chinese laborers in 1882 to the forced internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Fast-forward over a century later, and racism remains.

From March 2020 to February 2021, Stop AAPI Hate reported nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents in the U.S. The 2021 Atalanta spa shootings left eight dead and the recent shooting in Half Moon Bay killed seven. Nearly all of the victims were Asian.

22News spoke to the Massachusetts chapter of the American Chinese United Association to get their thoughts on this most recent attack. Chairman Jacky Xie said that it’s particularly tragic this attack occurred around Lunar New Year, which is an occasion to celebrate love, prosperity and peace.

Xie stated, “While the Asian/Chinese community worldwide is celebrating the Lunar New Year, love, wisdom, peace, and prosperity are common wishes to all. We are deeply devastated by the two shootings in California at this time of the year; our hearts go out to the victims and their families. The ACUA-MA condemns crimes and violence of any kind, and we pray for peace and unity to return to all the communities of our country. The ACUA-MA urges national and local leaders to take action to prevent this type of tragedy from ever happening again. The ACUA is committed to working with everyone to ensure our community is a better and safer place for ourselves and the next generations.”