Mar 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Seattle church vandalized with anti-Asian messages amid climate of fear in AAPI communities

Photo of a masked Gary Locke holding up a yellow sign that says "Hate is a virus"

Gary Locke, former Washington governor and former U.S. ambassador to China, speaks during the "We Are Not Silent" rally against anti-Asian hate in Seattle. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

A Seattle church has been targeted with anti-Asian graffiti for the fourth time in 2021, KOMO News reports.

Why it matters: The hateful messages, which included "China, you will pay," "go home" and "f--k China," appeared on church grounds one day before a white gunman killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women, in shootings in Georgia.

Details: The church had received similar messages earlier this year — once in January and twice in February. All of the messages revolved around China, church leaders said.

  • About 5% of the congregation is of Chinese descent, including people from China who teach at their day care, church leaders told KOMO News.
  • It's unclear why the church is being targeted. Police are reviewing the incidents.

The big picture: Anti-Asian hate has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Experts say former President Trump’s rhetoric — referring to COVID-19 as the "China virus" — encouraged the racism.

  • The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center received nearly 3,800 self-reported hate incidents from March 19 last year to Feb. 28.
  • The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found that anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police in America's largest cities jumped nearly 150% in 2020.
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