CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Northeast Ohioan turned out Saturday to express their solidarity with Asian friends, family, and community members in two separate events after a gunman killed eight people, including six people of Asian descent, in Atlanta, Georgia last week.
Basheer Jones is the Cleveland Councilman for Ward 7, which includes the Hough, St. Clair-Superior, Midtown, and Asia Town neighborhoods. He hosted a “cash mob” from noon to 6 p.m. at the LJ Shanghai Kitchen in Asia Town.
The “cash mob” encouraged the community to show their support by ordering take-out from the establishment, which has received anti-Asian hate calls.
“It’s like crazy busy. We haven’t had things this busy for almost a year,” said the owner of Shanghai. “Customers — they just came from far away from here... to support us - give me an air hug. And they said LJ - you go, girl. You go!”
LJ says she recently received several hateful calls that hurt her heart. “They call me like, ‘hey why don’t you go back to your country? We don’t need you. This country doesn’t need the virus.’”
Shanghai’s owner says the hate is something she doesn’t understand because she’s been here ten years, and she, just like everyone else, is trying to live the American Dream.
LJ feels all the love and support she’s received on this day makes her realize how good the people in Northeast Ohio are.
“I feel myself as the richest person today,” she said. “It’s all the love from everybody. All my supporters. I don’t even know them. I feel so rich. Like here,” she added, putting her hand to her heart.
Later in the evening, dozens of supporters met for a candlelight vigil at the Solon Community Park to honor those killed by the Atlanta spree shooter and to send the message that hatred against Asians must stop.
“From the start of the pandemic last year, our community would feel more discrimination and violence,” said Yumin Yin is a Chinese-American and U.S. citizen living in greater Cleveland. “But we’re here to say we are all normal American people. We all love this country - we should love each other.”