Athletes, members of Congress, everyday Americans join fight against anti-Asian hate

Violence against Asian Americans has surged over the last year as they’ve been targeted and blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic. Celebrities use their platform to highlight and address the hate.
8:06 | 03/05/21

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Transcript for Athletes, members of Congress, everyday Americans join fight against anti-Asian hate
Reporter: For too long, it's been an invisible problem. The violence against asian-americans surging throughout the pandemic. This week, police investigating new incidents from a street in Seattle and a laundromat in San Francisco. To New York City, where a 56-year-old man was beaten for no apparent reason. Attacks targeting our neighbors, our friends, our loved ones. A woman viciously shoved. A 71-year-old lady punched in the face. A 36-year-old man stabbed in chinatown on his way home from work. These attacks seemingly escalating over the past two months. Prompting more than 1,000 people to protest in Oakland, calling for solidarity against asian-american violence. Thank you for coming through. Reporter: Now the simmering anger boiling over. An uprising to stop the hate. It is something in the psyche of this country where somehow it's okay to physically or verbally abuse asian-americans. We're being scapegoated. And this is not just one community. It is every community. Reporter: Hollywood stars, athletes, congress members, activists, and everyday Americans joining forces against not just the violence -- Punched, pushed over. We have elderly being attacked. Reporter: The casual racism asian-americans endure every day in this country. I've always kind of been the "Asian guy." Prove myself a little more. Reporter: Basketball player Jeremy Lin of the NBA g-league called "Coronavirus" on the court. When the next Asian or asian-american comes along, that they won't have to fight as hard or fight uphill to show what they can do. Reporter: Actress Olivia Munn lending star status to the fight. When I look in the mirror, I see an asian-american woman. I don't see a woman. Reporter: Like so many, Munn says the pandemic has been weaponized against Asians and asian-americans. I really was paralyzed. I didn't really know what to think, what to say. When the previous administration said things publicly like the Wuhan virus -- The China flu. The China virus. The plague from China. Unapologetically, he helped to stoke the fires of anti-asian violence against our communities. Reporter: Stop aapi hate began collecting more than 2,800 reports nationwide of anti-asian hate between March and December. Munn says her mission became personal after her friend's mother was attacked. Take me to that moment when you saw surveillance video of your friend's mom being attacked. What went through your mind? I was in shock. I mean, she's a very tiny woman. And she is hurled through the air to the point where her body is horizontal, her legs are flailing. And I think about my own mother. I think about my aunts. I think about the people in my family. And how it could have happened to any of them. Reporter: Munn told us her friend's mom didn't even want to report the crime at first. But after the suspect was arrested she now feels like she matters. Tell me how the younger generation is responding to that cultural need to sort of stay are younger asian-americans being more vocal? Yeah, we're being a lot more vocal than our parents and grandparents. There was this conditioning for the older generation to accept being a second-class citizen in your own country. Just surviving and not dying shouldn't be the aim for our families. It shouldn't be the aim for anyone. Our parents and grandparents paved the roads for us. Now it's our turn to take them back to the front of those roads and walk them down those paths and say, look, you belong here, you're an American, and it's safe. Reporter: One of the videos that helped spark this fresh outrage, the senseless death of 84-year-old Thai immigrant vishar, knocked to the ground while on his morning walk. The horrific video getting the attention of so many people, including actor Daniel day Kim. It was a very visceral response. I got very angry. This is now a year of these kinds of things going on. But it was disheartening to see how many people did not know. Reporter: Police arrested a 19-year-old suspect who pled not guilty to murder and elder abuse. His lawyer insists the attack was not racially motivated because the victim's face was fully covered with a mask and hat so there was no knowledge of his lawyer instead calling it a break in the mental health of a teenager. But while vishar's death made headlines, propelling this issue to the forefront, it's his life his daughter and son-in-law want to honor. Happy birthday He's a family man. A gentle man. He's taking care of our family. Reporter: Even though svishar's attack and others are not being investigated as hate crimes it's drawing attention to the alarming surge in xenophobic attacks. Asian piece of . Oh my god, go back to whatever Asian country you belong in. Reporter: She's trying to find hope. It isn't easy. I've been outside with the kids and I've been attacked verbally, the yelling, you are sick, you are a virus Asian. How did your kids react? We know there is violence, we just walk away. Reporter: That pain pales in comparison to her father's murder. I miss him a lot, every day. He's a caring person. We can't believe this happened. Reporter: Many in the asian-american community are harnessing the power of social media to share information on attacks and help hunt for suspects. My colleague, Dion Lim, of kgo-tv in San Francisco, is a prime example. On social media, things are different. People get to know me on a little bit more of an interest accurate basis. They learn about me being bullied growing up in nondiverse parts of the country. So they feel that connection. Then on social media, there's also a buffer. There's a screen on a phone or a computer. So they feel protected. They don't have to lay it all out on the line. Then when they see other people comment on these posts, they realize, oh my gosh, I'm not alone. I can do this. I feel empowered to share my Reporter: Others using their influence online to raise awareness, 31-year-old software engineer Hugh ma. It started when I was trying to help my mom find a vaccine. It was a pretty arduous process. Reporter: Ma started turbovax, a popular Twitter profile which tracks realtime availability of the vaccine. He's reportedly helped tens of thousands of new yorkers get the shot. But as attacks against the Asian community spiked, ma decided to protest in a meaningful way, to capture people's attention. He shot turbovax down temporarily. I wanted to illustrate through this action of taking the site down for two days that if we as a country don't listen to the concerns of asian-americans, then we risk losing the contributions of asian-americans as well. Growing up in queens, I was not immune to anti-asian bias. I grew up with people making offhand remarks about slanted eyes, yellow skin, my Ching Chong name. Reporter: Ma recommended people donate to a chinatown nonprofit. He said messages of hate started pouring in. But so did the support and the money. So far the nonprofit has raised $105,000. I just hope that my experience can show others that as long as we take the initiative and stand up for what you believe in, I think that you can make real change regardless of however big or small you think that may be. Our thanks to juju. You can watch the "ABC news live" special "Stop the hate: The rise in violence against asian-americans" on hulu.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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