On Tuesday evening, eight people were shot dead at three different massage parlors near Atlanta, Georgia. According to the New York Times (opens in new tab), six of the eight people were Asian, and seven were women.
This shooting comes after months of violent attacks against Asian and Asian Americans, several of which have gone viral (opens in new tab) on social media. The organization Stop AAPI Hate (opens in new tab) formed in March 2020 to track reports of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders "in response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic." While the organization has stated (opens in new tab) that "few details about these shootings have been released, including whether or not they were motivated by hate," since last March, it has received (opens in new tab) nearly 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate from across the nation.
Below, what you need to know about this most recent act of violence and how you can continue to support Asians, Asian Americans, and the AAPI community.
What happened on March 16
Per the Times (opens in new tab), the first shooting took place at Young’s Asian Massage and was reported to police around 5 p.m. Four people were killed and a Hispanic man was injured. Less than an hour later, officers went to Gold Spa, about 30 miles away, to respond to a robbery and found (opens in new tab) three more women dead with gunshot wounds. At the same time officers were at Gold Spa, Atlanta police said they received a report about Aromatherapy Spa across the street. There, they found another woman who had been shot. The 21-year-old suspect, who is white, is now in custody, and a spokesman for the Atlanta field office told the Times that the FBI is assisting in the investigation. According to CNN (opens in new tab), police said, due to video evidence, "it is extremely likely" that the same person was responsible for all three shootings.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (opens in new tab) that authorities have yet to release the identities of the victims, though an official from the South Korean Consulate in Atlanta confirmed to the Times (opens in new tab) that four of the people were Korean.
Georgia politicians have tweeted in response to Tuesday's shooting, including Gov. Brian Kemp (opens in new tab) and Sen. Raphael Warnock:
My heart is broken tonight after the tragic violence in Atlanta that took eight lives. Once again we see that hate is deadly. Praying for the families of the victims and for peace for the community.March 17, 2021
Several Asian American members of Congress also responded to the attack. Congresswoman Grace Meng wrote on Twitter: "My heart breaks for those we lost in these senseless shootings. And this is all the more painful because AAPIs have spent the last year telling you that our communities were in danger. We cannot move forward -- we cannot heal -- until our country reckons with & stops AAPI hate."
My heart breaks for those we lost in these senseless shootings. And this is all the more painful because AAPIs have spent the last year telling you that our communities were in danger. We cannot move forward -- we cannot heal -- until our country reckons with & stops AAPI hate.March 17, 2021
My heart breaks to see this tragic news. AAPI Americans are once again being targeted, harassed, attacked, and killed in Georgia and communities across America.We must do everything we can to end this violence while organizing together against hate, gun violence, and bigotry. https://t.co/Oy4AYkR08LMarch 17, 2021
I’m heartbroken to hear about this tragedy. The AAPI community across the country is frightened by these acts of violence. We have to strengthen our resolve and act against such blind hatred. Tonight we stand in solidarity with victims and their families. #StopAsianHate https://t.co/r34B3xnUnQMarch 17, 2021
Stop AAPI Hate released a statement on Tuesday, saying: "The reported shootings of multiple Asian American women today in Atlanta is an unspeakable tragedy — for the families of the victims first and foremost, but also for the Asian American community, which has been reeling from high levels of racist attacks over the course of the past year."
.@StopAAPIHate statement: “This latest attack will only exacerbate the fear and pain that the Asian American community continues to endure.” Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/yqmj2ru2coMarch 17, 2021
President Barack Obama also tweeted: "Although the shooter’s motive is not yet clear, the identity of the victims underscores an alarming rise in anti-Asian violence that must end." He continued, "Yesterday's shootings are another tragic reminder that we have far more work to do to put in place commonsense gun safety laws and root out the pervasive patterns of hatred and violence in our society."
Yesterday's shootings are another tragic reminder that we have far more work to do to put in place commonsense gun safety laws and root out the pervasive patterns of hatred and violence in our society.March 17, 2021
Michelle and I pray for the victims, their families, everyone grieving these needless and devastating killings—and we urge meaningful action that will save lives.March 17, 2021
How to support Asians, Asian Americans, and the AAPI community
If you're looking for places to donate, there are a number of organizations that work to combat anti-Asian violence and provide ongoing support to local AAPI communities:
- The Asian American Advocacy Fund (opens in new tab) works to "advocate for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians in Georgia."
- The National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (opens in new tab) works to "build a movement for social, political, and structural change for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls," including fighting for economic and racial justice.
- AAPI Women Lead (opens in new tab) "aims to strengthen the progressive political and social platforms of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the US through the leadership of self-identified AAPI women and girls" with the goal of ending violence within and against AAPI communities.
- The Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (opens in new tab)is a "legal and civil rights organization serving the low-income Asian Pacific American communities."
- The Asian Mental Health Collective (opens in new tab) works to "to normalize and de-stigmatize mental health within the Asian community" by making mental health support easily available and accessible.
- You can also donate to Stop AAPI Hate here (opens in new tab), and find even more organizations here (opens in new tab), via New York magazine.
Continue to speak out against anti-Asian violence, hate, and harassment, both on social media and within your own social circles. The organization Hollaback! (opens in new tab) has also partnered with Asian Americans Advancing Justice to provide free bystander intervention training and conflict de-escalation training to stop anti-Asian and xenophobic harassment. You can sign up here (opens in new tab).
Madison is a staff writer at ELLE.com, covering news, politics, and culture. When she's not on the internet, you can most likely find her taking a nap or eating banana bread.
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