Hundreds of people demonstrated outside the Georgia State Capitol building to demand justice for the victims fatal shootings in the Atlanta area last week, as well as an end to anti-Asian racism and misogyny.
Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, killed by gunman opened fire in three separate spas on March 16, sending shockwaves across the United States.
Holding signs reading “Hate is a virus”, “Stop Asian hate” and “I am not your model minority,” protesters called for action to end discrimination against Asian Americans.
“The women who perished … I see my family in them,” Timothy Phan, a protester who drove eight hours from Florida to attend the rally in Atlanta on Saturday, told CNN.
“I feel like too often we are just erased.”
While the alleged assailant told police his actions were not “racist,” members of the Asian-American community claim that decades of racism, misogyny and objectification of Asian women in particular play a role in the deadly shootings.
The murders came after Asian-American advocacy groups warned that hate incidents Targeting of community members was increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, in part because of racist language used by political leaders, including former US President Donald Trump.
Trump called the coronavirus a “Chinese virus” and “kung flu”.
Bernard Dong, a 24-year-old Chinese Georgia Tech student, told the Associated Press news agency that he joined the protest to demand the rights of all minorities.
“Often Asians are too quiet, but times change,” he said, adding that he felt “angry and disgusted” by the shootings and violence to which Asians, minorities and women are. faced.
In a report released last week, the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center documented 3,795 hate incidents targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders between March 19, 2020 and February 28 of this year.
Most of these incidents involved verbal harassment, while physical assaults accounted for just over 11%.
President Joe Biden, who met with Asian-American leaders in Atlanta on Friday, condemned shootings as well as anti-Asian racism.
“Too many Asian Americans walk the streets worrying, waking up every morning this year fearing for their safety, the safety of those close to them,” Biden said.
“They have been attacked, blamed, scapegoats, harassed. They have been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed.
Authorities charged suspected 21-year-old shooter murder in the attacks.
They also released the names of the eight victims. The first to be named were Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, Paul Andre Michels, 54, Daoyou Feng, 44, and Xiaojie Tan, 49, who owned one of the massage businesses.
The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office also identified the other four women on Friday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported: Soon C Park, 74, Hyun J Grant, 51, Suncha Kim, 69, and 63-Yong To Yue, one year old.
Grant’s son Randy Park started a GoFundMe page to support himself and his brother after their mother was murdered, the newspaper also reported. As of Saturday afternoon, more than $ 2.4 million had been raised.
“She was a single mother who dedicated her entire life to providing for my brother and me. There is only my brother and I in the United States. The rest of my family is in South Korea and can’t come, ”the page read.
“She was one of my best friends and the biggest influence on who we are today. Losing her has put a new lens in my eyes on the amount of hate that exists in our world. As much as I want to mourn and deal with the reality that she is gone, even though I have a little brother to take care of and issues to resolve as a result of this tragedy.