Mar 17, 2022 - News

Asian groups to gather in Philly to honor victims of Atlanta spa shootings

Data: Stop AAPI Hate; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Asian organizations in Philadelphia are joining groups across the country this week in marking one year since six Asian women were killed in a string of shootings at Atlanta-area spas.

Why it matters: The March 16, 2021 attacks reignited focus on the ongoing rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans in the U.S.

What's happening: Philly-based Asian Americans United is teaming up with the Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance and VietLead for a virtual event Thursday night to mark the first anniversary.

  • The event aims to bring community members together to discuss solutions to systemic problems and support for Philadelphia's Asian community, said Wei Chen, AAU's civic engagement director and a founding member of APIPA.
  • "It's an opportunity for self-healing of the trauma," he said.

The big picture: About 1 in 5 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders experienced a hate crime in the U.S. from September 2020-2021, according to a Stop AAPI national report.

Zoom in: There's a long history, spanning decades, of hate crimes against people of Asian descent in Philadelphia. But reports have increased in recent years.

  • Philadelphia received 41 reports of acts of bias or hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders last year, up from 28 in 2020 and eight in 2019, according to the city.

Flashback: Back in November, several teen girls were caught on camera attacking a group of Asian students near SEPTA’s Erie station. The attackers were heard using racial slurs.

  • The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office filed charges soon after against four teenagers, including multiple counts of aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation and disorderly conduct.

Around two months later, Penn Law came under fire for comments professor Amy Wax made in December, saying the U.S is "better off with fewer Asians and less Asian immigration."

What to watch: The law school's dean initiated the university's sanctions process against Wax in January, and Penn's undergraduate assembly last month passed a resolution calling for the professor's termination.

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