Asian Americans Urge Hate Crime Charge in Atlanta Massage Parlor Shootings

The Atlanta spa shootings came amid growing discrimination and violence against Asians during the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. Here’s what Asian Americans, including a victim, have to say.

At least 8 people were killed in shootings at 3 spas in the Atlanta area.

“Asians have been scapegoated and blamed for the pandemic, and this is not new to our community,” says Cynthia Choi of Stop AAPI Hate, a group that tracks anti-Asian violence.

“It’s something that elected officials peddled in terms of blaming our communities and that’s led to the attacks against our community,” adds Choi.

Stop AAPI Hate said it had received nearly 3,800 reports of hate incidents since mid-March 2020, around the time that the Covid-19 pandemic seized the U.S. More than 500 of those came in the first two months of 2021.

“There are people that are just afraid to leave their homes and they’re coming after the elderly,” says actress Olivia Munn, “you can’t go after the most vulnerable in our community and get away with it.”

Some businesses have begun to reassess their operations over worker safety. Xi’an Famous Foods, a New York City chain of Chinese food restaurants, told the New York Times it had started closing earlier so employees could get home safely, following two separate incidents where employees were assaulted on their way to or from work.

New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Andrew Yang says the country should be treating hate crimes as such. “These women were targeted on the basis of their race,” says Yang, “some of these incidents were not treated as hate crimes, and that’s unacceptable.”

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