Atlanta, GA — On March 16, eight people were killed at three separate spas in North Georgia. Six of the people killed were Asian and all but one were women.
“We are heartbroken by these acts of violence. Six Asian women lost their lives. Now is the time to hold the victims and their families in our hearts and in our light. We’re calling on our allies across communities of color to stand with us in grief and solidarity against racist violence in all its forms. When our most vulnerable community members are targeted, we all need to band together,” shared Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta.
While the details of the shootings are still emerging, the broader context cannot be ignored. The shootings happened under the trauma of increasing violence against Asian Americans nationwide, fueled by white supremacy and systemic racism. While anti-Asian violence is woven throughout our nation’s history, the Trump administration’s relentless scapegoating of Asians for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has increased the incidences of hate and violence against Asian Americans around the country. According to the most recent data, hate incidents targeting Asian Americans rose by nearly 150% in 2020, with Asian American women twice as likely to be targeted. Stop AAPI Hate received 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate since March 2020 to February 2021, with 35% of discriminatory acts happening at businesses and with women reporting hate incidents twice as men.
“That the Asian women murdered yesterday were working highly vulnerable and low-wage jobs during an ongoing pandemic speaks directly to the compounding impacts of misogyny, structural violence, and white supremacy,” said Phi Nguyen, Litigation Director at Asian American Advancing Justice – Atlanta.
In Georgia, as in many states across the country, systemic disinvestment from and criminalization of communities of color means that we do not have the infrastructure or resources in place for effective community safety, a robust social service safety net, and in-language support. In addition, white supremacy devalues the lives and experiences of immigrant communities, Black communities, and other communities of color while heightening xenophobia and divisions among us. At a time where we could be building bridges of understanding and support, white supremacy continues to diminish our already fractured society.
During this time of crisis for our AAPI community, we call on our local and state government to provide robust and responsive crisis intervention resources, including in-language support for mental health, legal, employment, and immigration services. It is time for Georgia to invest in transformative justice that begins with cross racial dialogue and community-building that address the root causes of violence and hate.
Read our statement in-language:
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta is the first nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities in Georgia and the Southeast. For more information about Advancing Justice-Atlanta, click here.