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Friday, March 18, 2022

Commemorating the One-Year Anniversary of the Atlanta Spa Shooting

 Commemorating the One-Year Anniversary of the Atlanta Spa Shootings



This past Wednesday, March 16, 2022, marked the one-year anniversary of the tragic Atlanta spa shootings, during which a gunman attacked three Asian-run businesses, killing eight people — six of them women of Asian descent. As a Nation, we take this moment to remember the members of our community lost in Atlanta, as well as those lost in New York, California, New Mexico, and everywhere else in between that has been affected by the rise in anti-Asian violence.
The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to ensuring Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities remain safe from violence and fear. Deputy Assistant to the President and AA and NHPI Senior Liaison Erika Moritsugu, WHIAANHPI Executive Director Krystal Ka‘ai, and WHIAANHPI Deputy Director Rebecca Lee travelled to Atlanta on Wednesday to meet with community members and family members of the victims of the tragic shootings. Erika Moritsugu presented President Biden and Vice President Harris’ statements and Krystal Ka‘ai provided remarks at the Atlanta Justice for Asian Women rally. Watch their remarks here.

Read President Biden’s statement here and below:
One year ago today, eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, were tragically killed by a gunman who attacked three Asian-run businesses. These horrific murders shook communities across America and underscored how far we have to go in this country to fight racism, misogyny, and all forms of hate—and the epidemic of gun violence that enables these extremists.

In the aftermath of these senseless deaths, the Vice President and I traveled to Atlanta to meet with leaders of the Asian American community. 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. Grandparents afraid to leave their homes. Small business owners targeted and gunned down. Families living in fear for their lives just walking down the street in America. 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.

Today, we honor the victims, their families, and the Atlanta community that has shown extraordinary resilience in the face of tragedy. 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. I was proud to sign the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law last May, which dedicated new tools and resources across government and law enforcement to help prevent, track, and respond to acts of hate, along with new Department of Justice grants and other measures to enhance community engagement, empowerment, and education.

This tragedy is also yet another reminder of the gun violence epidemic. My Administration has taken more executive action to reduce gun violence than any other Administration it its first year. But there is more to do—and Congress must act.

On this somber anniversary, my Administration remains fully committed to advancing safety, inclusion, and belonging for all Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders—especially the women and girls who disproportionately bear the burdens of hate—and to reducing the gun violence that terrorizes our communities. Together, we must build a future where no one fears violence.
Read Vice President Harris’ statement here and below:
One year ago, our nation endured a heinous act of violence—an act born of racism, sexism, and hate.
 
Today, as a nation, we bear witness to the intolerance that still exists, and has sadly long existed, in our society. In particular, we bear witness to the increase in violence and discrimination in the past few years against Asian American women.
 
And we recommit to doing all we can to ensure all Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander individuals and communities are safe from violence, discrimination, and fear.
 
One year ago, eight members of this community, six of whom were women of Asian descent, were taken too soon. They were friends, siblings, parents. They were each deeply loved. And they are each profoundly missed.
 
Our nation mourns their loss. Their family and loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers.
Celebrating the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act
On March 16, 2022, President Biden signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This reauthorization not only renews VAWA through 2027, but also strengthens the protections offered to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, including:
  • new services and resources for underserved communities such as LGBTQ+ and rural communities
  • increased legal services and training to law enforcement to provide trauma-informed assistance to survivors
  • improved background check systems to prevent abusers from purchasing firearms, and
  • new federal civil cause of action to prosecute cases of digital harassment and cybercrime.
The President acknowledged the significance of the timing of this reauthorization, stating,  “Today, one year since a gunman killed eight people in Atlanta, six of whom were women of Asian descent, these horrific murders are a reminder that we still have work to do to put an end to misogyny and racism and all forms of hate we have.” Read President Biden’s remarks on the reauthorization of VAWA here
WHIAANHPI and President’s Advisory Commission Co-Chairs Issue Joint Statement Commemorating the Anniversary of the Atlanta Spa Shootings
On March 16, 2022, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, who serve as Co-Chairs of the White House Initiative and President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific islanders, issued a joint statement commemorating the anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings. Read the full text of the Co-Chairs’ joint statement here and below:
We share our deepest condolences with the families of the victims of the senseless shootings that shook our nation one year ago. The tragedy in Atlanta not only left families without their loved ones, but also further shook an entire community that was already facing escalating instances of anti-Asian violence, which disproportionately targeted women. At the onset of the pandemic, Asian Americans were increasingly met by racism and anti-Asian sentiment, which left many feeling scared to leave their homes because of safety concerns. That is unconscionable. It is unacceptable. And we will not stand for it.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to fighting anti-Asian bias and gender-based violence, and ensuring that Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander families recover from the multiple crises they’ve been confronted with. Under our leadership, the White House Initiative and President’s Advisory Commission continue to coordinate a comprehensive federal response to address these issues and advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities. Together, we will work to ensure that our nation lives up to its founding ideals, and that the American Dream is within reach for every AA and NHPI family.
WHIAANHPI Co-Chair U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai Joins Community Vigil in Detroit on Anniversary of Atlanta Spa Shootings
U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai speaks at a community vigil in Detroit on the anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings. (Source: @AmbassadorTai, March 16, 2022)
On Wednesday, March 16, 2022, Ambassador Tai took part in a community vigil in Detroit, Michigan hosted by APIAVote to honor the victims of the Atlanta spa shootings as well as the memory of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American killed in an act of anti-Asian violence almost 40 years ago. Ambassador Tai noted, “These acts of violence across multiple generations are a reminder that anti-Asian hate is not new. It is the source of deep anxiety and pain that keeps many of us up at night – in fear for ourselves, our parents, our neighbors, and our loved ones… In this somber moment, remember that we are always working to perfect our union, to make it more tolerant and just. The work and strength of our community is proof that we are resilient, and that progress is possible.” Read Ambassador Tai’s full statement here.
Deputy Assistant to the President and AA and NHPI Senior Liaison Erika Moritsugu Speaks on the State of Asian American Women
Deputy Assistant to the President and AA and NHPI Senior Liaison Erika Moritsugu speaks with PBS Newshour on the one-year anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings. (Source: PBS Newshour, March 16, 2022)
On March 16, 2022, Deputy Assistant to the President and AA and NHPI Senior Liaison Erika Moritsugu spoke with PBS Newshour about the impact of the Atlanta spa shootings and the continued racism and misogyny that AA and NHPI communities still face. Ms. Moritsugu highlighted the importance of honoring the memories of the victims and working to support healing among our communities. You can watch the interview here.
On March 17, 2022, Ms. Moritsugu joined Teen Vogue and The Asian American Foundation’s Women History Month event entitled, “The State of Asian American Women.” Other featured speakers included Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY), and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow. You can watch the conversation here.
JOIN US: National and Regional Events Commemorating the Atlanta Anniversary
On Monday, March 21, 2022, join us for our AA & NHPI Women’s History Month & Atlanta One-Year Commemoration event. The virtual event will bring together White House, WHIAANHPI, and National AA and NHPI women leaders united in combating hate. Following our national event, WHIAANHPI's Regional Network will also host virtual events in different regions across the country to share regional-based resources and discussion with AA and NHPI communities.
The White House and WHIAANHPI
National AA & NHPI Women’s Event:
Women’s History Month & Atlanta One-Year Commemoration
Monday, March 21, 2022
1:00pm ET
Register here
WHIAANHPI Southeast
Regional Network (RN4)
AA & NHPI Virtual Community Roundtable
(Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee)
Monday, March 21, 2022
2:30pm – 4:30pm ET
WHIAANHPI New England
Regional Network (RN1)
(Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
National Briefing Breakout Session on Combatting Anti-Asian Hate
Monday, March 21, 2022
2:30pm – 4:30pm ET
WHIAANHPI Northern California and Southwest
Regional Network (RN9)
Combating Anti-Asian Hate Roundtable
(Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawai'i, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau)
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
12:00pm – 1:00pm PT
(3:00pm – 4:00pm ET)
WHIAANHPI Mid-Atlantic
Regional Network (RN3)
(Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)
Community Roundtable on Combatting Anti-Asian Hate
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
11:30amd – 1:00pm ET
WHIAANHPI NY/NJ
Regional Network (RN2)
(New York, New Jersey)
Mental Health and Community Relations Resources for the AA and NHPIs in NY & NJ
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
9:30am – 10:30am ET
WHIAANHPI Midwest, Rocky Mountain, and Southcentral Regional Networks (RNs 6, 7, & 8)
(Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)
Justice and Equity for AA and NHPIs Community Roundtable
Thursday, March 24, 2022
4:30pm – 5:30pm ET
WHIAANHPI Great Lakes
Regional Network (RN5)
(Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)
Community Roundtable on Combatting Anti-Asian Hate
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
12:00pm – 1:00pm EST
WHIAANHPI Pacific Northwest
Regional Network (RN10)
(Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington)
Community Roundtable on Combatting Anti-Asian Hate
Thursday, March 31, 2022
2:00pm – 3:30pm EST
Celebrating Joy, Positivity and Coming Together: Happy Holi
 
In the midst of our healing and hardship, we want to acknowledge hope and community. Today, we want to wish all who are celebrating a happy Holi. As Vice President Harris stated, “Today is a day celebrating joy, positivity, and coming together through vibrant colors.”

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