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Hundreds gather in Boise to stand in solidarity with Asian-Americans targeted by hate

"I felt like it was very important to try and take a stand and to speak out to honor those who lost their lives and those who have been affected by hate crimes."

BOISE, Idaho — Several hundred people turned out in Boise Tuesday to stand against hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans.

The group gathered for a vigil at the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in downtown Boise.

According to NBC News, there were 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents reported in the United States over the past year. That's a 149% increase over the year before.

The most egregious happened one week ago when a gunman killed eight people at Asian massage parlors in Atlanta. Six of the victims in the shooting were Asian.

Vigils have taken place throughout the country in the days since the attack.

The goal of Boise's vigil Tuesday night was to show solidarity with Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities and to send the message that hate is not welcome in Idaho.

"It's part of our history," said Katie Niemann, spokesperson for the Boise Valley Japanese-American Citizens League. "I speak a lot to students about the incarceration of Japanese-Americans in Minidoka, and that happened just a couple hours from here. So it's an ongoing part of history."

Niemann told KTVB that the vigil is an important step in raising awareness, and ultimately curbing, the growing anti-Asian sentiment.

"Culturally, it's easy for us to stand back and try and blend in," she said. "But I felt like it was very important to try and take a stand and to speak out to honor those who lost their lives and those who have been affected by hate crimes."

The Japanese American Citizens League, which hosted Tuesday's vigil, noted that they have not seen an increase in reported hate crimes locally.

Nationally, nearly half of all anti-Asian hate crimes have occurred in California, according to NBC News.

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