ATLANTA – As people across the country gathered in support of the national Asian-American community after Tuesday’s murder in Georgiahundreds of people gathered in downtown Atlanta on Saturday afternoon for a rally and march in honor of the victims and condemning anti-Asian violence.
“We have been invisible and ignored in our country for more than a century,” New York actor Will Lex Ham told the crowd. “We were violently physically attacked. An elderly man in San Francisco had to die to attract attention. It took six Asian women to die in Atlanta for people to stand on them.”
Eight people were killed Tuesday in a rampage, including six Asian women. Although police say the suspect said he did not target them because of their race, the crime has touched a nerve in a community that has already turned around from a year-long rise in anti-Asian incidents that have risen in recent months.
On Saturday in Atlanta, a crowd gathered near the State Capitol, many holding “Stop Asian Hate” signs, while Ham, among the event organizers, led them in chanting “Get up, fight back!”
Gaby Lynch, 32, carried a piece of cardboard that read, “Does this sign make me submissive?”
The daughter of a Filipino and a Korean-Japanese-Irish mother, Lynch said the event was her first gathering ever, and she was delighted to see the support of the community.
“I feel at home – like we’re surrounded by family members,” said Lynch, who works wholesale in Atlanta. “We need people to know we’re not just quiet and quiet.”
The newly elected Democratic senator, Rev. Raphael Warnock from Georgia, provided support to those gathered and promised to use his position in the fight against discrimination, racism and violence in arms.
The tragedy sparked an outpouring of support as communities across the country, from Phoenix to Philadelphia, gathered this week to publicly mourn the victims. A coalition called the Asian American Table of Leaders had compiled a list such events across the country, some planned this weekend or later this month.
Meanwhile, the GoFundMe campaign for help the family of one of the victims, a single mother of two has raised nearly $ 2.3 million since Saturday morning.
The suspect entered the spa an hour before the shooting, the video shows
A video surveillance released on Friday shows the murder suspect leaving a spa where the first shootings are believed to have taken place.
The video, obtained by the Associated Press, shows 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long leaving Young’s Asian massage in Acworth, Georgia, 30 minutes north of Atlanta, and getting into his vehicle.
Four people were killed and another wounded at the scene. Four more were killed at two other spas in the Atlanta area.
Other videos, obtained by the Washington Post, indicates that Long, 21, spent an hour in front of Youngs before entering the spa. An hour and 12 minutes later, he was seen leaving the location and getting into his car before police arrived, the newspaper reported.
More details about the suspect are revealed. Plates published in the US TODAY on Friday showed that Long had been kicked out of his parents ’home the day before the shooting and was“ emotional ”.
Long was also recently fired from the fair because of COVID-19, the report said.
On Wednesday, police said Long indicated he had committed the shooting because of his sex addiction.
Spas have been the target of police stabs
Police records have shown that police officers have stabbed spas several times over the past decade for prostitution, seeming to contradict Keisha Mayor Lance Bottoms’ statement this week that, apart from minor potential theft, they were not a police concern.
So far, federal investigators have found no evidence to lift the high limit for federal hate crimes charges against Long, reports the Associated Press, citing two law enforcement officers.
However, experts said the killings were inextricably linked to racism and hatred. The shooting came amid a recent rise in cases of hatred, discrimination and violence against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, fueled by racist rhetoric from politicians, said Stop AAPI Hate, a group that monitors such incidents.
Killed on Tuesday were Soon Chung Park (74); Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Daoyou Feng, 44; and Xiaojie Tan, 49, who owned Young’s.
Events on Tuesday it started late that afternoon, when authorities say Long first opened fire on Youngs, before driving 30 miles to Atlanta and killing four more people at two companies: Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa. Police believe he headed to Florida, where he intended to target additional spas, when he was detained about 150 miles south of Atlanta.
Echoes of the incident are felt especially across the country among Asian Americans who feel vulnerable and afraid to move amid a rise in anti-Asian incidents. In a report released this week before the Atlanta killings, Stop AAPI Hate said it recorded nearly 3,800 anti-Asian incidents – including harassment, discrimination and acts of violence – between mid-March 2020 and the end of February 2021.
Kay Kim, a longtime Savannah resident who attends a local Asian church, she said her entire assembly was afraid. In conversation, he oscillates between feelings of anxiety about recent violent events, but also the belief that the world is still beautiful.
“It’s pointless,” Kim said — a word she keeps coming back to.
“It doesn’t have to be that way,” she says. “It’s a beautiful America, a blessed country. We should not destroy it by such actions. ”
Contributions: Nancy Guan, Savannah Morning News; Associated Press
Who were the victims?What we know about 8 people killed in a spa shooting in the Atlanta area