All You Need to Know About Asian - American Protests

 


Demonstrations began outside the Georgia state capitol building in order to demand justice for the victims of fatal shootings occurred at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area on March 16,2021.

The incident witnessed eight deaths, including six women of Asian descent, when a gunman opened fire at three spas or massage parlors in the metropolitan area of Atlanta, Georgia, United States.

A 21-year-old man named Robert Aron Long; a white man of Woodstock was identified as a suspect later the day this incident happened. On 17 March 2021, Long was charged with eight counts of murder.

According to police, Long said his actions were not racially motivated instead he was motivated by a sexual addiction that was against his religious beliefs. After the mass shootings, Long has been charged with the murders but he has not been charged with hate crime.

Earlier, Long has spent time in Hope Quest, an evangelical treatment clinic for sex addiction. He has been a financier of two of the massage parlors and identified them as sources of sexual temptation.

According to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department, Long initially thought of killing himself but later he decided to target the massage parlors. According to him, spa or massage parlors are the temptation for sex addict people like him and he wanted to “help" others dealing with sex addiction.

As six of the victims were of Asian descent, some analysts have characterized the murders as a hate crime, staging the rising discrimination and misogyny against the Asian-Americans in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the accused has claimed that his actions were not racially motivated but some experts have said that race cannot be ignored as a reason for this incident which have sent shockwaves across the United States.

During the pandemic, the country has witnessed a significant rise in the Anti-Asian hate crimes born out of stigmas about race, gender and sex work.

According to a report published last week by Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Centre, 3795 hate incidents targeting the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) were recorded between 19 March 2020 and 28 February 2021.

Some people believe that the rise in hate crimes against the Asian-American community during the pandemic is due to the racist language used by the former President Donald Trump as he called the corona virus the “China virus" and “Kung flu".



Reactions

In order to respect the victims of the shootings, President Joe Biden ordered all U.S. flags at the White House, on naval vessels, at military installations, on other federal grounds and at U.S. diplomatic missions to be flown at the lowered positions between 18 march 2021 and 22 march 2021.

On 19 March 2021, President Joe Biden and the Vice-president Kamala Harris met with the leaders of the Asian-American community to discuss the mass shootings.

In his speech, the President condemned the incident as well as anti-Asian racism. “Too many Asian Americans have been walking up and down the streets and worry, waking up each morning this past year fearing for their safety, the safety of their loved ones,” Biden said. “They have been attacked, blamed, scapegoated, harassed. They have been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed.”

The President also supported the proposed COVID-19 Hates Crime Act, which he believed would help in tackling anti-Asian hate crimes.


Protests

Thousands of people participated in demonstrations across the United States on account of a surge in violence against Asian Americans and to raise awareness about racial discrimination.

Rallies and widespread demonstrations were held in at least twelve cities of America in the wake of the deadly shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlours.

A coalition named ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) organized sixty rallies across the U.S. against the Asian Hate Crimes.

“We are out here to say that we are not going to tolerate racism towards Asian American communities,” Satya Vatti, an organizer with the ANSWER said.

Beyond Atlanta, social activists gathered in rallies protesting and denouncing Asian hate, in cities including New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Chicago, Milwaukee, Dallas, Los Angeles and Honolulu.

“Hate is a virus", “Stop Asian hate", “I am not a virus” and “I am not your model minority” are some of the statements written on the holdings.

People also expressed their grief as well as anger via social media using hashtags such as “stopasianhate".  Videos and photos of protests and rallies also flooded the social media handles as thousands of people from Washington D.C to Los Angeles came out of their houses and offices to show their resistance to the cause.


Written By – Sanjana Yadav

Edited by – Adrija Saha

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