Two Years After Atlanta Shootings, Asian Americans Fear Lingers

On March 6, 2021, eight people – including six Asian women – were shot to death at three spas in Atlanta. The Asian American community has been victimized, as reported, over “increasing incidents of anti-Asian hate nationwide.”

Exhibiting empathy, “the country rallied in unprecedented support.” As described, “intensified activism within the Asian-American community” was enhanced by “statements of solidarity from Black, Latino and Jewish leaders.”

Yet, after a lapse of two years, it is alleged that the Asian-American community is experiencing “mixed feelings” about what progress, if any, has been made. As reported, the Asian-American community “worries about the future should politicians continue to stoke fears and biases ahead of next year’s presidential campaigns.”

Aarti Kohli is the executive director of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, a legal advocacy agency based in San Francisco. Kohli asserted a personal perspective. “I am extremely concerned about heightened violence as we head into another national election where politicians will likely continue to scapegoat immigrants.”

Yet, perhaps the larger culture is recognizing and rejecting scapegoating and stereotyping. As quoted, “Others see promise in the fact that the film “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” won seven Oscars at last weekend’s Academy Awards, saying it reflects new openness to the Asian American experience.”

A signal of positive developments was articulated by Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, president and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, which is based in Washington, D.C. Mielke stated: “While we’ve been telling our stories for decades now, there is a greater spotlight on the stories being created.” Mielke pointed out that: “Asian American stories are American stories.”

At least some in the Asian-American community, this posting asserts, wanted cultural and political changes, such as “boosting Asian American representation in political and spiritual leadership, visibility in public school curricula and multilingual offerings in voter ballots, mental health services and outreach by law enforcement.”

Examples of perceived general hostility toward Asians include proposed legislation in some states “that would ban citizens of China from buying property.” A spokesperson identified as Kulkarni, who is the executive director of the AAPI Equity Alliance in Los Angeles and Stop AAPI Hate, claimed: “That’s the new problem we’re seeing – that this hate is now being weaponized by policymakers.”

Presently, advocates in Atlanta say “familiar concerns linger, including a disconnect with law enforcement.” Such advocates, as quoted, assert that with the Asian-American community,  disagreements exist about such matters as “the degree to which police should be involved in curbing anti-Asian incidents.” Phi Nguyen, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta generalized further: “That continues to be a struggle for the Asian American community and, certainly, other communities of color.” Nguyen believes no “significant change” since the shootings has been achieved in Atlanta “on a systemic level.”

D & B Staff

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Episode 84