COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Across the country, including right here in Maryland, there is solidarity for members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

A rally was held Wednesday in Columbia, calling for an end to the rise in attacks on Asian Americans nationwide.

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“This is an awakening moment for us,” Jean Xu, Founding President of Chinese American Parent Association of Howard County, said.

“Unfortunately, hate is a virus,” Nusrat Tusi, a Baltimore County resident, said.

“We unite, we stand,” Young Smith, President of the League of Korean Americans of Maryland, said.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the Columbia Lakefront with a clear message, demanding an end to the growing anti-Asian rhetoric and violence since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are not the scapegoat, we are not the virus,” Smith said.

Many members of the Asian community say this hate is nothing new, but recently, it’s been in the spotlight.

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“This has been going on for a while,” Xu said. “And now it comes with national attention, however, it’s happening nationally and locally for a while,”

After the violence in Atlanta that left eight people dead, including six Asian women, many say it was just the tipping point.

They say they have been quiet for too long, and it is time to speak out.

Howard County is home to more than 60,000 Asian Americans, and the fastest growing population locally.

Organizers say they designed this event to be centered around the community and want the unheard voices to be heard.

Studies show anti-Asian hate crimes more than doubled nationwide last year. Stop AAPI

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Stop AAPI Hate reports nearly 3,800 cases of racially motivated attacks against Asian Americans over the past year alone during the pandemic.