CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Atlanta-area shootings shocked the nation, including in the Capital Region. Local Asian-Americans said they have been victims of racism, and they want to continue to see change.

“I have experienced things like ‘open your eyes’ or ‘go back to your country,’” said Justin Ko.

For Justin Ko, part owner of Son of Egg, he says those are some things he grew up hearing.  

“I never get to be an American in a sense because everybody just judges me for how I look,” he said.

Justin said it hit home when he heard about the Atlanta shooting that took the lives of eight innocent people.

“It’s awful to see that somebody just targeted a group of people just because of their race,” he said.

Trixie Castro is a sophomore at Siena College. She said after watching the news, it struck fear and her family came to mind.

“I see the names, the ages and the faces of the people who were affected. Then I see my own family in that, so I empathize really heavily,” she said.

Patrick Chiou, CEO of Chiou Development Group, said throughout the pandemic he has seen more violent attacks and discrimination against Asian-Americans. Chiou said he is putting his foot down and wants his voice to be heard.

“I’m proud of our culture right now, and I’m very proud to be Asian. But we need to come together and say hey listen enough is enough.”

Melissa Cooper a senior at Siena College and said this is the perfect time to shine light on how to make a change.

“This is a great chance for us to not only start the conversation because the conversation has been started, but I think it’s a great way for us to actually have some action and make proactive changes,” said Cooper.