Social Navigation

Asian Americans will rally across the country 2 years after deadly Atlanta shooting


Two years after the deaths of eight people at three Asian-owned or operated spas in Atlanta, Asian Americans are uniting in cities across the country to demand action against racist hatred, violence and pay tribute to lives lost.

Co-hosted by Stand with Asian Americans in partnership with various other Asian American equity organizations, the rallies not only plan to mourn the losses of the 2021 Atlanta shooting, but will mourn the lives lost in other murders, like the Half Moon Bay and Monterey Park shootings that happened earlier this year.

“This violence is just kind of the latest manifestation of violence against our community,” said Charles Jung, executive director of APA Against Hate and civil rights attorney. “This event is important to remember because it’s about addressing stigma in our community while healing and building for the future.”

Jung is the coordinator of the March 16 commemoration in the five cities.

On March 16, “Always With Us: Asian Americans Rise Against Hate” synchronized events will take place in Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, New York, and San Francisco.

There will be special appearances at events ranging from 2022 TIME Woman of the Year Amanda Nguyen to Brandon Tsay, the man who stopped the shooter at Monterey Park. Other appearances will include Asian American leaders, activists, community members and elected officials.

Robert Peterson, son of Atlanta Spa shooting victim Yong Ae Yue, told ABC News that Thursday’s rallies allow the public to not only support Asian Americans, but also hear the stories of those whose lives have been lost to hate crimes.

“I know the feeling of hearing these events and saying that it is sad. But it’s important to me to put a face to these stories,” Peterson said emotionally. “It’s my mom. It’s not just a regular occurrence. It’s not another mass shooting, but it was my mom.

While the events all strive to promote unity across the country, each city plans to highlight local issues, such as San Francisco’s focus on low-wage workers and the focus put by New York on Asian women.

“The idea of ​​it being national, but at the same time reflecting the voters, the people and the community and the issues they face vocally was important to highlight for each of the cities,” said Wendy Nguyen, co-founder of Stand with Asian Americans.

This will be the second year that the organizations have created nationally synchronized rallies that are open to the public in person and via live stream, regardless of race.

“I want and hope that we as a community can galvanize the next generation of Asian American activism…so that we can build this cross coalition, so that we can uplift all communities, not just the Asian community.”

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.