Residents of Dallas’s Koreatown district have been increasingly pushing for recognition by the city because of the salon shooting last week, reports NBC News.
Locals argue that having the neighborhood officially designated as a Koreatown would bolster their sense of safety and community.
“It creates a sense of community and a sense of self-control,” said John Lee of the Greater Dallas Korean American Chamber of Commerce to NBC. “By doing that, we have the opportunity for our community to own an area that we can call ours. We can create that sense of belonging and sense of community and sense of support for each other.”
The one-mile stretch within the Asian Trade District is home to the second-largest Korean American community in the South and has been around for over 40 years. Although residents have been seeking official designation for years, the recent shooting highlighted the significance of that designation.
As AsAmNews previously reported, three Korean women were shot and injured in a hair salon in Dallas’s Koreatown on Wednesday, May 11. The FBI is investigating the shooting as a hate crime, and a suspect has been arrested.
Advocates contend that having official recognition and protection would allow the community to preserve their cherished history. Lee believes that designation would also “offer refuge and identity for the immigrants who work long hours to provide their families with a safe, comfortable life in a metropolis with a fast-growing Asian American population.”
One storeowner with a restaurant next to the salon, Joann Roh, wondered what safety measures would have been put in place if the shooting had occurred in a predominantly White neighborhood. She noted that “many recent immigrants don’t know how to bring up security concerns with the authorities, because of language barriers, a lack of familiarity with the system or a lack of resources.”
Jennifer Brown, a spokesperson for the city, wrote to NBC, “We are still working through what that designation would look like, so are not able to comment in detail about the potential process or contents at this time.”
Security measures have increased in the days since the shooting, as Dallas police have multiplied around the neighborhood and added cameras. Yet some locals think more should be done.
“These efforts should take place before a tragedy occurs in preparation for it,” said Roh. “And it should be maintained. If it’s only a passing fixation after this incident, we’re still going to see tragedy after tragedy. I don’t want anything like this to happen anymore.”
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