This past Saturday, Timothy Phan drove eight hours to Atlanta from Florida to attend a rally in support of those killed at three spas in Georgia this month. The rallies, intended to show opposition against Asian American hate and violence, are now seen popping up across the country.
While Phan did not personally know the eight people who were killed, he did feel like the attacks hit close to home as someone who was raised in an Asian American household. Phan’s family members are nail salon workers.
During the Saturday rally, Phan spoke with CNN, noting, “The people, the women who perished, I see my family in them.”
The rally in Atlanta on Saturday was one of many happening around the country in honor of the victims. Rallies took place in other cities, such as Columbus, Houston, and New York. The Atlanta spa killings are still under investigation by authorities. The suspect now says that the killings were not racially motivated.
This past Tuesday, eight people were fatally shot — four at a Cherokee County spa and four in an Atlanta spa about an hour later.
The violence from this past Tuesday only adds to the fear that many Asian Americans are already feeling. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSUSB, during the coronavirus pandemic, anti-Asian hate crimes more than doubled.
Parallels can be drawn to the racist rhetoric used during the pandemic as well. The vitriol of the “kung flu” or “China virus” have been a problem for many Asian Americans, many of whom have never stepped foot in Asia.
President Joe Biden Condemns Asian Hate Crimes
Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Georgia’s two new US senators, attended this past Saturday’s Atlanta spa killings rally. Both of these senators criticized the comments from the Cherokee County official, who noted that that suspect had simply had a “really bad day.”
Warnock said in a recent statement that he is “not interested in whether or not he had a bad day. “We got to stop pretending like hate laws and laws regarding terrorism only apply to Black people and brown people and people of color and Muslims.”
Special Agent Jim Clemente, a retired FBI supervisory, said that these shootings were motivated by far more than a “bad day.”
In a recent statement, Clemente said, “his actions show that he targeted a particular type of person on this particular day, and not only did he do it at one location, but he went to a second and a third location.”
Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the shootings and the ever-increasing Asian American hate crimes. Many public officials have noted that they want prosecutors to consider charging the suspect with a hate crime based on either race or sex.
Biden and Harris never explicitly stated that they thought the shootings were based on a hate rime, however, they did note that the shooter’s motivation comes alongside the rise in crimes against Asian Americans. During their visit, they spoke with community leaders about concerns against Asian American crimes, as well as other issues.