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NBC News hosts town hall on anti-Asian hate crimes, discrimination

The discussion will feature actress Olivia Munn, basketball star Jeremy Lin, Rep. Judy Chu and others.

In an NBC News virtual town hall on Wednesday, Asian American advocates, journalists and celebrities will discuss the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, bias incidents and racism since the start of the pandemic.

"The Racism Virus" town hall will air Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC News Now. The event will feature Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; basketball star Jeremy Lin; actress Olivia Munn; Russell Jeung, an Asian American studies professor at San Francisco State University; the Nobel Prize nominee and activist Amanda Nguyen; comedian Margaret Cho; actor Brian Tee; NBC Asian America reporter Kimmy Yam and more.

NBC News investigative and consumer correspondent Vicky Nguyen will moderate. The event is hosted by NBC Asian America and NBC News Now.

The conversation will cover how the Asian American community has dealt with the stigma of being associated with the coronavirus, which has not only taken an economic and personal toll, but led to an increase in violent attacks, reports show.

In a teaser shared on the "TODAY" show, Lin spoke about how someone had called him "coronavirus" during a game.

"I wrestled with whether to talk about it, whether to bring it up and things like that," Lin said. "That's verbal and that's something that happened to me on the court, but I think what I'm trying to do is bring awareness to what is happening off the court, to people, to the elderly, to important people that we love and in our community."

Anti-Asian violence has surged since the coronavirus pandemic began. A recent analysis that examined hate crimes in America's largest cities revealed that while hate crimes decreased overall by 7 percent, hate crimes targeting Asian Americans increased by 150 percent last year.

Vicky Nguyen said that while watching the viral attack videos have been painful, she does see a silver lining.

"We're talking about this in a way I feel like we really haven't, so this is quite a moment," she said on "TODAY."

"I'm just really excited we have so many interesting people from all over the country who are going to join this conversation."

Read about anti-racism resources to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander community here.

Victims can report bias incidents via the online reporting tool Stop AAPI Hate, AAPI Emergency Response Network -- a nonprofit resource spearheaded by the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans -- or Asian Americans Advancing Justice's hate crime tracker.

Follow NBC Asian America on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.