A mass shooting incident in three Atlanta-area spa parlors has led to the deaths of eight people, six of whom were Asian women. Robert Aaron Long (21) was charged with eight counts of murder and has been brought into custody for questioning.
Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant claimed it was too soon to conclude his acts were racially motivated, saying, “It’s still early on, we still have a lot of things to process” and that his “sexual addiction” may be the actual root cause of his crime.
At a news conference, a law enforcement official says early indications are that Atlanta-area mass shooter Robert Aaron Long may have been motivated by issues stemming from “sexual addiction,” not racism — but he cautions that the investigation is in an early stage pic.twitter.com/jCyDGyZxQ7
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 17, 2021
The Asian American community was outraged by the statement. Hate crimes towards Asians have increased exponentially since the beginning of the pandemic, with many—including the sheriff involved in Robert Long’s case—blaming them for the spread of COVID-19.
Celebrities all over the world are using their platforms to raise awareness of the heartbreaking surge in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).
The hashtag #StopAsianHate trended online. Popular artists like Steve Aoki joined the conversation, saying, “We are your friends, family, and fellow human beings.”
#StopAsianHate it’s really as simple as that. Ive said it before its much easier to love one another and focus on what brings us together instead of focusing on what divides us!! We are your friends, family, and fellow human beings. Spread love not hate ❤️🙏 pic.twitter.com/KzSpcU7ntO
— Steve Aoki (@steveaoki) March 17, 2021
YouTuber and singer Eugene Yang encouraged his followers to express their rage at the injustice of the shooting incident.
Basketball player Jeremy Lin motivated his fellow Asian Americans to “Keep standing up, speaking out, rallying together, and fighting for change.”
Actress Margaret Cho posted an emotional video following the shootings and urged her audience to view the incident as it is.
I’m so angry and full of grief because of what happened yesterday in Atlanta. I lived in Atlanta for seven years and I just don’t understand. And it is a hate crime. It is a hate crime. When you kill [six] Asian women, it’s a hate crime. This is terrorism. This is a hate crime. Stop killing us.
— Margaret Cho
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) March 17, 2021
K-Pop artists are also joining the fight against racism, educating their sizeable fandoms on what happened in Atlanta and what Asian Americans have been subjected to in the United States.
We stand together. #StopAsianHate.
— CL, soloist
— CL (@chaelinCL) March 17, 2021
Some, like Eric Nam, couldn’t believe the violent acts that people commit while fueled by hatred.
They have shared donation drives and information on how their fans can concretely make a difference in the movement.
Spread awareness, please.
— AleXa, soloist
— AleXa (@AleXa_ZB) March 17, 2021
— Tablo, EPIK HIGH
— 에픽하이 타블로 | Tablo of Epik High (@blobyblo) March 17, 2021
FNC Entertainment‘s newest boy group, P1Harmony, also made their voices heard, posting, “Please #StopAsianHate.”
— P1Harmony (@P1H_members) March 17, 2021
By April of last year, reporting center Stop AAPI Hate received 1,500 reports of “racism, hate speech, discrimination, and physical attacks against Asians and Asian-Americans.”