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Asian American Kansas lawmaker says he was threatened at bar

Rui Xu is the only Asian American in the Kansas legislator. In a tweet on March 19, 2021, he...
Rui Xu is the only Asian American in the Kansas legislator. In a tweet on March 19, 2021, he said that he was physically threatened in a western Kansas bar(kslegislature.com)
Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 7:24 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/KWCH) - The only Asian American lawmaker serving in the Kansas Legislature says he was physically threatened in a western Kansas bar by an out-of-state patron, who he said questioned if he had been carrying COVID-19.

State Rep. Rui Xu, a Westwood Democrat, said on Twitter that the man also used an expletive and questioned why he was wearing a face mask.

Many members of the Asian American community see the shootings at three Georgia massage businesses and spas that left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian descent, as a reminder of harassment and violence that have been occurring against Asian Americans since COVID-19 entered the country.

Xu said that he shared his experience to show that “It’s a scary time out there for Asian-Americans right now; it’s not just an imagined slight.”

On Monday, Xu shared a letter he received from the town’s mayor condemning the man’s actions and calling on all Americans to join the local residents in doing the same.

“Each of us can take action to battle bias and racism when we see it. There is a danger in staying silent when racially charged events unfold. These events impact our families, friends and community,” said the mayor.

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