Rallies held in dozens of cities Saturday called for an end to anti-Asian violence, amid a spate of racially motivated attacks targeting Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The demonstrations are the latest to come in the wake of the deadly shootings at three Atlanta-area spas last week that killed eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent.
“We’re out here to say that we’re not going to tolerate racism towards Asian American communities,” Satya Vatti, an organizer with the Answer (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, told Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB, at a rally against Asian hate in Atlanta.
The rally was just one of 60 that the coalition organized across the U.S. on Saturday, Vatti said.
Authorities are still investigating the motives behind the March 15 shootings. They have said that the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, admitted to the shootings and claimed they weren’t racially motivated.
Demonstrators called Saturday for the murders to be charged as a hate crime.
“We do see it as a race-motivated crime,” Vatti told WSB. “This is part of the many attacks, spike in attacks that we’ve been seeing across the country targeting Asian-American communities.”
In the past year, the organization Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate, which launched in response to the growing anti-Asian sentiment during the coronavirus pandemic, recorded nearly 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents nationwide.
Beyond Atlanta, rallies protesting Asian hate were held in cities including New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Milwaukee, Dallas, Los Angeles and Honolulu.
“We need to continue to be loud and stand together to stop hate crimes,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said, according to Los Angeles ABC station KABC. “Now is not the time to be silent. Let’s continue to support each other and speak out against hate.”
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