Sacramento, CA – The Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) is deeply saddened and hurt by the recent tragedy that took place in Georgia on March 16, 2021. It is with a grave heart that we offer our condolences to the families of Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Yaun, 33; Paul Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; and the four unnamed victims in the Atlanta Spa Shootings. Our hearts also go out to Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, who was injured in the attack and remains in critical condition. Eight individuals lost their lives and one was left in critical condition after a man opened fire at three locally-owned spas in two different cities in the state of Georgia. These shootings are a senseless act of violence, one of many that are perpetuating Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, making it a heartbreaking time for the API community. APAPA stands in solidarity with those who lost their lives to such a heinous act of violence and vows to continue to stand against racism, sexism and hate crimes.
At this moment, the exact motive of the shooting has not been confirmed although NBCNews opines that in addition to racism, sexism cannot be ruled out as part of the shooter’s motivation. The shootings appear to be at the “intersection of gender-based violence, misogyny, and xenophobia,” said Georgia State Rep. Bee Nguyen. This incident has also captured our nation’s attention and deeply shocked the entire Asian community.
Many AAPI organizations, including AAAJ-Atlanta, SEARAC, OCA, UCA, and a C-100-ADL cohort have issued statements condemning the recent Georgia shootings. Once again, we thank ADL, our Jewish brothers, for their unyielding support and partnership to condemn hate-crimes against Asians and all Americans.
On March 17, 2021, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement, “These shootings are a vicious and vile act that compounds the fear and pain that Asian-Americans face each day. […] Our entire nation must come together to speak out to Stop Asian Hate. President Biden is to be commended on his executive actions to condemn these attacks and to empower the Justice Department to combat the violence. And, led by the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, we will continue our work to end violence and bigotry in America.”
Following the incidents from March 16, 2021, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation for the U.S. flag to be lowered at half-staff in all public grounds, government, and military stations. Biden said he was ordering the flags lowered “as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence.”
APAPA appreciates the above organizations and political leaders for speaking out against these hate-crimes and anti-AAPI sentiments. The perpetuation of these crimes must be immediately stopped, and the perpetrators must not go unpunished.
Once again, APAPA emphasizes that America is strongest when we are diverse and united and that the American Dream is for ALL Americans. We are deeply saddened by these tragic events and will continue to stand against racism, sexism and hate crimes in honor of those who cannot.
APAPA is a non-profit, non-partisan and grassroots organization. Its mission is to empower Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Americans through education, leadership, and active participation in civic and public affairs.