Vice President Kamala Harris, the first South Asian person to hold the office, delivered a message to the Asian American community Wednesday after a shooting Tuesday night left six Asian women and two others dead.
“We stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people. But knowing the increasing level of hate crime against our Asian American brothers and sisters, we also want to speak out in solidarity with them and acknowledge that none of us should ever be silent in the face of any form of hate,” she said in an address, noting that the motive in Tuesday’s shooting is still being investigated.
Harris said the administration’s prayers are extended to the families of those killed, adding, “It speaks to a larger issue, which is the issue of violence in our country and what we must do to never tolerate it and to always speak out against it.”
Later on Wednesday, President Joe Biden denounced the “brutality against Asian Americans” and said he was in conversation with the attorney general and the director of the FBI as the investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
The shooting took place at three separate spas — Young’s Asian Massage Parlor, Aromatherapy Spa and Gold Spa — in the Atlanta area Tuesday night. The 21-year-old suspect was charged with four counts of murder and one count of assault in Cherokee County, where one of the spas is located. Officials have not yet announced any charges for the killings that took place at the two other spas in the city of Atlanta.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, nearly 3,800 incidents of violence, discrimination or other forms of harassment were reported to Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting center that tracks hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. There were a total of 1,691 incidents reported in California, representing nearly 45% of all reported incidents. Of those who reported incidents, 68% identified as women.
“The reported shootings of Asian American women on Tuesday in Atlanta is an unspeakable tragedy — for the families of the victims first and foremost, but also for the AAPI community — which has been reeling from high levels of racial discrimination,” the organization Stop AAPI Hate tweeted on Tuesday night. “Few details have been released, including whether or not the shootings were related or motivated by hate. But right now there is a great deal of fear and pain in the Asian American community that must be addressed.”
See Harris’ message in the video below.
VP Harris to the Asian American community: "We stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people, but, knowing the increasing level of hate crime against our Asian American brothers and sisters, we also want to speak out in solidarity." pic.twitter.com/zCONHr3tX0
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 17, 2021