Democratic Georgia Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lawmakers organized a press conference today in response to the recent deadly attack on Asian businesses in the Atlanta metro area, in which eight people – including six Asian American women – were murdered.
Speakers decried rising violence against the AAPI community, expressed solidarity with all those grieving and scared amid the violence, and called for support and resources for the AAPI community.
“We have faced systemic racism, exclusion and violence before. We have persevered in the fact of hardship, and in spite of it all, we have thrived,” said State Representative Sam Park. “To my fellow Asian American sisters and brothers who are scared, know that we feel your pain. We share your grief and your concerns. We see you and we hear you, and we will work tirelessly to protect our community, and with arms linked, we will continue the fight to ensure justice for all.”
“These problems we’re facing right now are not new. Discrimination, racism, and violence against Asian Americans is not new. The epidemic of gun violence and gun injury is not new. What can be new is how we deal with it in this moment, and I want to implore our community and our fellow legislators to not let this moment go by,” said State Senator Michelle Au. “What I would like to see is increased awareness of this type of discrimination, better data collection so we can measure the full scope of the issue, and some real attention to the issue of gun safety.”
“What happened in Georgia is not an isolated incident. It’s happening all across America. These shootings are a horrifying and disturbing example of targeted racial violence,” said State Senator Sheikh Rahman. “These malicious crimes are taking place in our own backyard. We must come together and stand up against xenophobia and any hate crimes committed against Asian Americans or anyone else in our communities. Hate has no place in America. We have come too far to go back.”
“I urge our country in the midst of a year of racial reckoning to ensure that the narratives and needs of Asian Americans continue to be a part of the conversations we’re having,” said State Representative Marvin Lim. “I would urge us to have policy conversations around racial equity and tolerance; the protection of BIPOC communities; violence against women in all form; gun safety; workplace safety; the plight of labor, including migrant labor, in the service industry; mental health services, not only from the perspective of those who might do harm to others, but of those who are likely to be harmed and traumatized; the appropriate response by law enforcement to violence and extremism; and even simply how we care for our small businesses, particularly those that are minority and immigrant owned.”
‘We know very little about the victims, but we do know that there were four women who were ethnically Korean who were killed, their ages ranging from 50 years old to 70 years old, and at least two lived and worked in those spas. This one fact alone highlights the vulnerability, the invisibility, and the isolation of working class Asian women in our country,” said State Representative Bee Nguyen. “This was a violent and brutal act, targeting three Asian businesses, resulting in the death of six Asian women, one that is laced with xenophobia, misogyny, gender based violence, and lax gun laws on the state of Georgia.”