Amara Walker, a CNN reporter, fought back tears as she reported live from Atlanta after President Biden delivered a speech condemning the rise in violence against Asian-Americans over the past year.
Following Biden's speech, in which he also urged his fellow citizens to unite against bigotry and racism in the United States, Walker, who is Korean-American, said she "cannot overstate how much it means for the Asian-American community" for Biden and Vice President Harris to visit Atlanta and meet with local leaders in the aftermath of Tuesday's massage parlor massacre.
“For the president to come and say, ‘I see you, I hear you, I feel your pain,'" she said before pausing for a little bit, "and to elevate this issue, I think a lot of us — it’s a cathartic moment, because the first step is to be seen and to be heard."
"This really is a moment for Asian Americans," says @AmaraCNN on the President and vice president's trip to Atlanta.— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) March 19, 2021
"...To come and say 'I see you, I hear you, I feel your pain,' …it's a cathartic moment, because the first step is to be seen and to be heard." pic.twitter.com/bIX2tJB6EA
"And the fact that we have the vice president also acknowledging the history of racism against Asians that we have faced since the day that the Chinese immigrants started immigrating to the United States,” Walker added, referring to Harris’s own remarks made prior to Biden's.
“When you are a foreigner in your own country, you are dehumanized, you are not taken seriously,” the CNN correspondent said, echoing Harris's comment that Asian-Americans feel like they don't belong in the United States.
Walker also addressed the police officer of Cherokee County's comment, adding that the characterization of the shooter made by him elicited a "visceral" reaction from many Asian-Americans across the nation.
"If there is a crime committed against you or your community, even law enforcement might dismiss it as the perpetrator was just having a bad day,” she said, referring to the controversial comments. "That’s because for so long, Asian-Americans have felt like they have not been taken seriously, they have not been seen."
She went on to say that she and her family have been called the "China virus," a term used by former President Trump to describe COVID-19, and that they have been told to "go back to your country."
The 21-year-old suspect in the shootings, Georgia-native Robert Aaron Long, was denied bail and charged with eight counts of murder. The gunman himself, during interrogation, stated that he suffers from a sex addiction. He denies that the attack was motivated by racial hatred. According to authorities, he also planned to travel to Florida to attack "some type of porn industry."