Asian Americans grieve, organize in wake of Atlanta attacks

Asian Americans grieve, organize in wake of Atlanta attacks
Source: AP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: Asian Americans were already worn down by a year of racist attacks fueled by the coronavirus pandemic when a white gunman was charged with killing eight people, at least 6 of them are Asian women, at three Atlanta-area spas.

Hundreds of Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans turned to social media to air their fear, anger, sadness and hopelessness. Hours after the shootings that happened Tuesday evening, the hashtag #StopAsianHate was a top trending topic on Twitter.

Aisha Yaqoob Mahmood, executive director of the Atlanta-based Asian American Advocacy Fund, which does political and advocacy work across Georgia, said: “I think the reason why people are feeling so hopeless is because Asian Americans have been ringing the bell on this issue for so long … We’ve been raising the red flag.”

Many were also outraged that the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, was not immediately charged with hate crimes. Authorities said to the media that the suspect told police the attack was not racially charged, and according to police Mr Long claimed that he targeted the spas because of a “sex addiction.”

Six of the seven slain women in these incidents were identified as Asian.

Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that law enforcement needs “some training understanding what a hate crime is. This man identified targets owned by Asians. Southern Poverty Law Center tracks hate groups.

She said the gunman “was very clearly going after a targeted group of people.”

Being Asian American herself, Margaret Huang said the shootings into the Asian women felt personal. She is worried that not classifying the attack as a hate crime will “absolutely discourage others from coming forward and seeking help.”

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