United Way CEO condemns racism, anti-Asian violence

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 5:50 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Abby Hamilton is speaking up and speaking out against anti-Asian violence and hate.

The United Way of Roanoke Valley President and CEO is an Asian-American immigrant herself, and says it’s important for the community to confront and condemn all forms of racism.

“To me it was really heartbreaking,” Hamilton told WDBJ7 Monday morning.

Hamilton said it was difficult to hear the news of the Atlanta-area shootings, and disheartening to see the escalation of violence and harassment against Asian Americans.

A native of the Philippines and a U.S. citizen since 2008, Hamilton said she felt it was important to speak up.

“I think from a personal level, I felt like I was in a position that I needed to say something,” Hamilton said. “One to support others in the community and number two to also kind of model the kind of behavior that we want from the community.”

Here in western Virginia, Hamilton said she hopes leaders will redouble their efforts to create an inclusive environment, and more people will reach out to others who don’t look or sound like them.

“One of the things that I truly value, that is a good strategy, is to just get to know people that are different from you, and get to know them as people,” Hamilton said, “because it’s very hard to hate somebody that you know.”

For more information on anti-Asian discrimination, the United Way of Roanoke Valley recommends the following links:

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