Stop AAPI Hate Marks First Anniversary of the Atlanta Spa Shooting
March 15, 2022 — Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the shooting in Atlanta, in which eight people were gunned down across three spas, and six of those who were murdered were Asian women. One year later, we remain heartbroken for their families, who are continuing to mourn the loss of their loved ones, and for the AAPI community in Atlanta. We join them in their grief by remembering and honoring the victims, and holding their families in our thoughts.
We also mark this anniversary by acknowledging that AAPIs have spent the past year organizing and resisting. Amid our trauma, the AAPI community came together to draw attention to the ongoing hate we are facing — holding vigils, protests and rallies across the country, and demanding governments and businesses take action to protect us from racist and discriminatory acts. We ask the AAPI community to continue to report hate incidents to our reporting center. By sharing these incidents — the numbers and the stories — we are able to advocate to ensure our experiences do not again become invisibilized, and that we have a voice to demand real solutions be adopted.
As much as we speak out, this anniversary is also a reminder that fear and distress continue to be part of our daily lived experience. Our latest national report, released in advance of this anniversary, shows that between March 19, 2020 and December 31, 2021, Stop AAPI Hate received nearly 11,000 hate incident reports — 61.8% of which were reported by women.
So finally, we mark this anniversary by calling on state policymakers to work with us. States have the power to enact policies and practices that can change the lives of AAPIs by investing in their communities. We ask state leaders and policymakers to act now to protect our community by:
Investing in community-based efforts. States should look to fund victim and survivor support programs that have language access provisions and provide culturally responsive support to help AAPIs who have been targeted move forward with their lives. Violence prevention programs can help stop crimes before they begin and build solidarity between AAPIs and other communities of color, instead of pitting them against one another. States including California and New York have allocated funds to be spent through AAPI community organizations that provide victims and survivors with the mental health and other support that they need.
Investing in civil rights enforcement. Governments and businesses can be held accountable for the harassment of AAPIs in public spaces, in shops and on public transit. In particular, this investment could be life-changing for AAPI women, who report twice as many hate incidents as men and too often bear the burden of public harassment on a daily basis. Stop AAPI Hate’s recently released California State Policy Recommendations to Address AAPI Hate platform, which can be adopted in states around the country. Its recommendations include creating a statewide framework to prevent street harassment, taking a gender-based approach to rider safety on public transit, and strengthening civil rights protections against hate at businesses.
Investing in AAPI education. Education is one of the most effective tools we have against racism, and implicit bias is learned early. Asian American studies programs — which are increasingly being considered around the country — promote racial empathy and solidarity, while decreasing bullying and harassment in schools, helping AAPI students thrive. States around the country have passed legislation for Asian American studies, including Illinois and New Jersey, and Stop AAPI Hate is working with national organizations, educators, policymakers and other experts on creating Asian American studies frameworks for states to adopt and follow.
This is a moment of grief, and mourning, and recognizing how much more there is to do. But we remain hopeful. There is a path forward in ending anti-AAPI hate, if our leaders will work with the AAPI community to get there.