In photos: Victims of Atlanta spa shootings remembered one year later
People across the U.S. commemorated one year since the Atlanta spa shootings on Wednesday, gathering in rallies and holding vigils in cities including Chicago, D.C., Dallas and Detroit.
Why it matters: A white gunman killed eight people, six of them Asian women, in Atlanta-area spas on March 16, 2021. The mass shooting renewed calls for action against anti-Asian violence amid a yearslong spike in hate crimes targeting Asians in the U.S.
The big picture: The gunman, who told investigators he targeted spas to eliminate his sex addiction, killed Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaine Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Yong Ae Yue, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant and Suncha Kim.
- He was sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty to the murders of four of the victims and faces charges for the other four killings in Fulton County, where the district attorney is seeking the death penalty and sentencing enhancement under Georgia's new hate crimes law.
What they're saying: "My mother was an Asian woman who was targeted for who she was, for occupying a particular space, by someone she didn’t know," Robert Peterson, the son of Yong Ae Yue, said at a rally in Atlanta.
- "As we stand together, let’s send a message: this is unacceptable. This will not be tolerated."
- "Racially motivated violence must be called out for exactly what it is, and we must stop making excuses for it or calling it economic anxiety, or in the case of the spa murders, sexual addiction," said Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.), who spoke about her experience as a Black and Korean woman at a congressional press event marking the anniversary.
- "How many more of us have to be sliced by a boxcutter, bashed on the head with a rock or more recently, punched over 125 times before it gets labeled a hate crime?" educator Esther Lee said in New York City. "I am not overreacting."
- "It should not take a tragedy such as this one for us to wake up," Georgia Rep. Bee Nguyen (D) said at the Atlanta rally. "This has been ongoing in the history of our country."
Editor's note: This article has been updated with more photos.