Rallies held across the country to mark one year anniversary of mass shooting at Atlanta spas

NEW YORK — There were rallies across the country on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of a mass shooting in Atlanta.

All of the victims were of Asian descent. It has compelled more people here in New York to join the movement to fight back and end the violence and killing.

Desperate calls to end Asian hatred escalated after a gunman opened fire on three separate spas in Atlanta on March 16, 2021, killing eight people, including six Asian women.

“He was so deliberate in his desire to kill Asian women that he walked 27 miles between spas to ensure he would hit his targets. For this reason, America was finally shocked to realize the reality of anti-Asian hatred,” the California rep said. said Judy Chu.

The grim anniversary was celebrated on Wednesday outside the nation’s Capitol, led by members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

The shooter was sentenced to life in prison for four of the deaths.

Raging on is the movement to raise awareness and bring about change. It draws attention to an alarming year-over-year increase in hate incidents against Asian Americans with nearly 11,000 reports since March 2020 and more than 60% of them reported by women.

“I was called names and, you know, spat at,” said Mary Wang of the group Concerned Citizens of East Broadway.

She is also an educator at Church of Grace to Fujianese. She says the Atlanta shooting made her more militant.

Since then, hate crimes have spiked, with a recent case Friday in Yonkers where police said an Asian woman was punched more than 125 times by a man calling her an anti-Asian slur.

Wang isn’t surprised to see some of her neighbors lining up for items to fight back, including free pepper spray and key alarms from Yu and Me Books in Chinatown.

“Everyone is struggling, struggling with fear,” she said. “Because of what’s going on, I feel like I have to talk.”

Look: Queens College President Frank Wu on the role of the pandemic in the growing number of anti-Asian attacks


Queens College President Frank Wu on the role of the pandemic in the growing number of anti-Asian attacks

05:32

Hundreds of AAPI women lined up outside the bookstore on Sunday for protective items.

“Just having pepper spray in my pocket or something or an alarm makes me feel a little safer,” said bookstore owner Lucy Yu.

Educating people, strengthening law enforcement efforts and ensuring that all hate crimes are properly reported and dealt with are crucial next steps, activists say.

“We have to recognize this story, that it continues today and that it really is the only way forward,” said Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese of Affirmative Action.

A rally was held in Times Square on Wednesday night to mark the one-year anniversary of the shooting.

As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reports, one after another, dozens of Asian American women stood up and spoke about their grief for the victims in Atlanta and their own experiences with racism in our city. .

The NYPD says there have been 26 incidents so far this year. That’s double the number in 2021, when there were 13 in total.

They also expressed anger that a year after that mass shooting, little has improved for AAPI women both nationally and in New York.

“I will never be ashamed of being hated for my race. That shame belongs to racists. It’s not my shame,” said novelist Min Jin Lee.

“Tired and angry that even after a year after the shooting, women who look like me are still being attacked and harassed in the city we love,” hate crime victim Esther Lee.

Shoulder to shoulder, hundreds of people gathered to make their voices heard.

“We are here. We are human. We want to be recognized like everyone else,” said rally participant Mami Cho.

Dan Cho brought his son to the event.

“It’s his first rally, and I think you’re never too young to get involved and make your voice heard,” he said.

Less than two weeks after the shooting in Atlanta, here in New York, Liz Kari’s mother was brutally beaten on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.

“Did we even have a chance to heal for a moment? Not a second to even recover,” Kari said.

“I feel like I have a target painted on my back,” said Jo-Ann Yoo of the Asian American Federation.

“On behalf of 20 million New Yorkers, we unite against Asian hatred,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.

While solidarity is a first step, many are demanding real solutions from lawmakers and law enforcement to keep this community safe.

“We are in a moment of judgment. We have to decide what kind of country we are, what kind of people we are,” said activist Amanda Nguyen.

Many rally attendees believe that the actual number of anti-Asian hate crimes is much higher than reported. They talked about strengthening what legally constitutes a hate crime to reflect the nuances of racist attacks, as well as lowering the barriers to reporting such crimes to the police.

Sara H. Byrd