March 16, 2023
The Stop AAPI Hate coalition has issued the following statement on the second anniversary of the Atlanta Spa Shootings, in which eight people’s lives were taken, six of whom were Asian women.
The following can be attributed to Cynthia Choi, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate:
“Many of us will never forget where we were, two years ago, when we first heard the news of the targeted shootings that were taking place in Atlanta. As Stop AAPI Hate continued to track rising anti-Asian hate across the country, we harbored a deep fear about the danger that our communities, families and loved ones were in. That fear came to life as the news about Atlanta came in.
The anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings will always take me back to that dark and devastating day, as it will for so many Asian Americans who continue to see our own families and loved ones in the people who were killed. It’s part of our community’s history, and it has become not only a day of mourning and reflection but also one of solidarity and action.
For the AAPI community, this is a day of community, to heal and reflect. It’s also a moment to draw strength from each other for the work that lies ahead.
It has been two years since the shootings, but we are still experiencing alarming levels of anti-Asian hate. Our coalition has received more than 11,000 hate act reports detailing the types of racism and discrimination our communities have endured and continue to face. Public health, national security and the economic scapegoating – where public officials continue to unfairly blame Chinese people and Asian Americans – continues to fuel hate here at home.
For our country’s leaders, this day must be one of accountability. They have the power to invest in community-based programs to support the healing of victims and prevent violence before it starts, to increase civil rights enforcement to keep us safe in public spaces and to provide educational opportunities that uplift our history and culture.
And as this year’s shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay reminded us, lawmakers must pass legislation to end the public health epidemic of gun violence that continues to ravage communities of all stripes, including ours.
We also call on our leaders to push back against solutions rooted in policing, which fail to address the full range of hate and discrimination we face and also further jeopardize other communities of color.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders came together after the tragedy to demand change in honor of the victims and their families – and we won’t stop until our communities are wholly safe. We showed our collective strength then and have not stopped since. ”