Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have condemned a “heinous act of violence” during a visit to Atlanta, hoping to console a city and Asian American communities rocked by the attack in the week that left eight people dead and one injured.Delivering remarks on Friday evening at Emory University after each day spent meeting with Asian American community leaders and politicians, the president and vice-president spoke out forcefully against the shooting, during which six of the victims were women of Asian descent, also because the rise in anti-Asian violence.
“Hate can haven't any shark repellent in America,” Biden said, calling on Americans to face up to bigotry once they see it. “Our silence is complicity. We can't be complicit.”Biden said “it was heart wrenching to concentrate to” Asian American state legislators and other community leaders discuss living in fear.
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“Racism is real in America. And it's always been. Xenophobia is real in America, and always has been. Sexism, too,” said Harris, calling the shootings a “heinous act of violence”.“The president and that i won't be silent. we'll not stand by. we'll always speak out against violence, hate crimes and discrimination, wherever and whenever it occurs.“Whatever the killer’s motive, these facts are clear,” Harris added: six of the eight people killed were of Asian descent, seven were women, and “the shootings happened in businesses owned by Asian Americans”.
The visit comes amid a nationwide surge in verbal and physical attacks against Asian Americans. Biden on Friday expressed support for the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, a bill that might strengthen the government’s reporting and response to hate crimes and supply resources to such communities.Both Biden and Harris spoke to the increase in anti-Asian violence over the past year, with Biden alluding to the Donald Trump and other Republicans who have repeatedly demonized China for the coronavirus.
“Words have consequences,” Biden said. “Whatever the motivation for the shootings we all know this: too many Asian Americans are walking up and down the streets and worrying. awakening each morning the past year feeling their safety and therefore the safety of their loved ones are stake. They’ve been attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed.”
“It’s been a year of living in fear for his or her lives just to steer down their street. Grandparents afraid to go away their homes. Small businesses attacked.” “Asian Americans are attacked and scapegoated” throughout the pandemic, Harris said. “We’ve had people in positions of incredible power scapegoating Asian Americans. People with the most important pulpits spreading this type of hate.”
The gunman targeted two massage parlors in Atlanta and another on the outskirts of the town . Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged with the murder of eight people and therefore the assault of another.The ethnicity of the victims has prompted a discussion about race and therefore the treatment of Asian Americans, particularly women, in America. The Cherokee county sheriff’s office was heavily criticized after claiming the shootings appeared unrelated to race, and for stating that Long related that he was “having a nasty day” when he opened fire at the three spas.
Four more victims were named on Friday. Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong Yue, 63, were shot and killed at two neighboring massage parlors in north-east Atlanta.Delaina Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44, were killed at a parlor north-west of the town . Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz was also shot, but survived.
The day after the shootings the Cherokee county sheriff, Frank Reynolds, was the main target of scorn after he said Long “gave no indicators” that his crimes were racially motivated. “We asked him that specifically and therefore the answer was no,” Reynolds said. The seeming acceptance of Long’s statement prompted widespread backlash, with Asian American leaders pointing to the increase in hate crimes against Asians and therefore the stigmatization of Asian women.
“It seemed like a hate crime to me,” Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta’s mayor, told CNN on Thursday night. “This was targeted at Asian spas. Six of the ladies who were killed were Asian so it’s difficult to ascertain it as anything but that.”
Bottoms said: “There are many areas of hate that are covered within the definition of a hate crime.”In Atlanta, Asian Americans are still trying to return to terms with the shootings. Woojin Kang, a young man of Korean descent, stood on the sidewalk ahead of Gold Spa on Thursday evening, the location of 1 of the shootings, holding a neon yellow sign that read “Asian women’s bodies are slayed” above the hashtag “#StopAsianHate”.
“The biggest thing I’m encouraging in my community is to lament. meaning to viciously exclaim in any way which will manifest. But we'd like to exclaim . We can’t be silent any longer ,” Kang said.“People say Asians are the submissive ones, we’ll close up . No. we'd like to exclaim , whatever that appears like. For me, that seemed like beginning today with signs, standing on the road .”
For some, the speeches by the president and vice-president were a poignant symbol.“The showing of compassion from the White home is a welcomed change, and something that's needed at this point ,” said Kat Goduco, an Atlanta-based Filipino American photographer.She said that the visit from Biden and Harris was comforting.“Hopefully they will use their leadership to deal with the concerns of the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) community that tend to be overlooked.”
Biden and Harris had already been scheduled to go to Atlanta, as a part of a tour designed to laud the recently passed $1.9tn Covid-19 relief bill, but the main target of the visit was changed within the wake of the shootings.
During the visit, Biden also celebrated a milestone within the nation’s vaccine efforts, as his administration announced it had reached its goal of administering 100 million vaccines within the first 100 days of his presidency, six weeks before schedule. Biden met with scientists at the CDC in Atlanta to precise his gratitude for his or her work.The shootings came just days after Biden had warned of the increase in violence against Americans of Asian descent. during a speech on 11 March – his first primetime address as president Biden condemned anti-Asian racism and hate crimes.
“At this very moment, numerous of them, our fellow Americans, they’re on the frontlines of this pandemic trying to save lots of lives, and still, still they’re forced to measure in fear for his or her lives just walking down streets in America,” Biden said during that address. “It’s wrong. It’s un-American. And it must stop.”Nearly 3,800 incidents are reported to prevent AAPI Hate, a reporting center for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and its partner advocacy groups since March 2020.