Mar 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden commemorates first anniversary of Atlanta spa shootings

Picture of Biden speaking behind a microphone
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Last year's Atlanta spa shootings are "a stark reminder that anti-Asian violence and discrimination have deep roots in our nation," President Biden said Wednesday, commemorating the first anniversary of the attacks.

The big picture: The shootings, which left eight people dead, including six Asian women, put a new spotlight on a historically overlooked and vilified group, Axios' Hope King, Shawna Chen and Sophia Cai report.

  • The victims were Xiaojie "Emily" Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaine Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Yong Ay Yue, Soon Chung "Julie" Park, Hyun Jung Grant and Sun Cha Kim.

What he's saying: "In the aftermath of these senseless deaths, the vice president and I traveled to Atlanta to meet with leaders of the Asian American community," Biden said.

  • "We heard about the terror and anguish that too many Asian Americans have felt since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when anti-Asian xenophobia, harassment, and violence skyrocketed to alarming levels," he added.
  • "It was a stark reminder that anti-Asian violence and discrimination have deep roots in our nation, with Asian American women experiencing the compounded harms of being targeted on account of their race as well as their gender."
  • "While nothing we do can bring the victims back, their loss has compelled us to reckon with our nation’s long legacy of anti-Asian sentiment and gender-based violence, and recommit ourselves to delivering the full measure of justice, safety, and dignity the Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community and all communities deserve."

The shootings led to the passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, a historic bill that "dedicated new tools and resources across government and law enforcement to help prevent, track, and respond to acts of hate" particularly against the AAPI community, Biden said.

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