On March 16, the Asian American Feminist Collective (AAFC) held a vigil to mourn the eight lives lost in the tragic Atlanta spa shooting one year ago.
The 8Lives Vigil simultaneously took place in New York City’s Washington Square Park and online so others around the globe could also show their support.
To organize the event, AAFC teamed up with Red Canary Song, a grassroots collective of Asian and migrant sex workers. Both are active players in fighting racial hate and gender discrimination in the U.S.
View this post on InstagramA post shared by ✨Asian Am Feminist Collective (@aafc.nyc)
A post shared by ✨Asian Am Feminist Collective (@aafc.nyc)
The vigil is part of a series of rallies against anti-Asian hate called Break the Silence, which took place from March 12 to 16 in several cities across the U.S.
During the Atlanta spa shooting of March 16, 2021, Robert Aaron Long, 22, shot and killed eight individuals in three different massage parlors in the state of Georgia: two in Atlanta and one in neighboring Cherokee county.
Of the eight victims, six were women of Asian descent who worked at the massage parlors. As Vanity Fair reported, all the women immigrated to the U.S. from China and Korea to seek better employment opportunities.
The killer denied being motivated by racial bias, instead declaring that his actions were fueled by the shame he felt over his sexual urges. He had targeted the spas as they were “a source of temptation.”
However, the shooting sparked debate and fear within the Asian American community, which has increasingly become the victim of racial hate since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
The Atlanta Asian Justice Rally is about to begin.The event remembers not only the ATL spa shooting victims but also demands a stop to Asian hate crimes and femicide.“For our community, March 16 was our 911,” Bonnie Youn, Advancing Justice organizer. @USATODAY pic.twitter.com/XGWuUmBsjL— Gabriela Miranda Quiñones (@itsgabbymiranda) March 16, 2022
The Atlanta Asian Justice Rally is about to begin.
The event remembers not only the ATL spa shooting victims but also demands a stop to Asian hate crimes and femicide.
“For our community, March 16 was our 911,” Bonnie Youn, Advancing Justice organizer. @USATODAY pic.twitter.com/XGWuUmBsjL
— Gabriela Miranda Quiñones (@itsgabbymiranda) March 16, 2022
Still hurting from the emotional wounds inflicted by the events, the victims’ relatives have issued an appeal for the killings to be recognized as a hate crime.
Meanwhile, AAFC wants the roles of race and gender in the shootings to be recognized, not to mention the danger and discrimination that sex workers of color face in the U.S.
In memory of the victims, their names were: Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Paul Andre Michels.
Cover image by Vincent Chan via Unsplash
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