Yesterday March 16, 2021, eight people were shot dead in the Atlanta, Georgia area, most of which were of Asian descent. According to law enforcement the attacks began around 5pm and took place at three Atlanta area spas. The first attack took place at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in in Acworth– a suburb outside of Atlanta. Police arrived at the spa to five people shot. Four of the five have died, and the fifth was in stable condition as of Wednesday. An hour later were the second and third attacks took place at the Gold Spa and the Aromatherapy Spa in Atlanta. These spas are located across the street from one another, and all four victims were Asian women. The South Korean Foreign Ministry has confirmed they were Korean women.

The suspect of these murders is 21 year old Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, Georgia. He claims his actions were not racially motivated and that he frequented the spas, but the word of a murderer is not trustworthy. This was racially motivated. The Atlanta Police Chief believes it’s too early to say whether or not the murders were a hate crime. “He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places, and it’s a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” said Police Captain Jay Baker about Long.

The victims are Delaina Ashley Yuan, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Yan, and Daoyou Feng. Elcias R Hernandez-Ortiz was identified as injured. 

What occurred yesterday is a tragedy and it brings to light the violence Asian people experience. Hate against Asian people has risen during COVID-19, as well as attacks against Asian Americans. The organization Stop AAPI Hate has reported 3,800 incidents of hate against AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) people from March 2020 to February 2021. In Texas alone, Stop AAPI Hate reported 63 incidents of anti-Asian American hate just from March 19, 2020 through July 1, 2020.

Racism is alive and well in the United States, and even if Long’s actions weren’t racially motivated (let’s be real– they were) does not take away from what Asian people experience. The Asian community experiences extreme xenophobia, and all Asian hate has an effect. It’s why “jokes” like “Kung Flu” and “China Virus” are harmful. Hate begins with words, and regardless if your hate runs deep, it may cause someone else’s to. Stop Asian hate and stop white terrorism!

Donate here to help.

Sources: USA Today, NBC News, BBC News

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