A horrific spree of violence in Georgia left eight people dead — six of whom were Asian women. Police have arrested a suspect and are investigating a motive, but the tragedy has called renewed attention to the huge spike in anti-Asian hate crimes over the last year and the particular horrors faced by women of color in the U.S.
Police have released the names of four of the victims who worked at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Cherokee County where the first shooting took place. They were Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Yan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44. Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz, 30, was injured but not killed in the shooting.
As of this writing, Atlanta police have not released the names of the rest victims.
The suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, told police that he had a sexual addiction and believed that he was going to “eliminate his temptation.” Yahoo reports that Long was “big into religion,” according to people who knew him, and was a member of Crabapple First Baptist Church. An Instagram account that appeared to belong to Long read: “Pizza, guns, drums, music, family and God. This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life.”
On social media, Christian leaders spoke out in condemnation of anti-Asian racism, gun violence and the dehumanization of women.
How you teach gender roles, and how you talk about women, how you sexualize them as temptations or dangers, matters. It can be life and death.
The way you indirectly blame women for abuse, lust, assault, "temptation", can be life and death.
— Rachael Denhollander (@R_Denhollander) March 17, 2021
Christian nationalism fuels racism. The shooter of last night’s attack professed a passion for guns and God. His father may also be a pastor. We need to address anti-Asian racism, but to do so we need to address God and country and gun violence in our country too.
— Michelle Ami Reyes (@drmichellereyes) March 17, 2021
Horrific news from Atlanta. Another instance of racialized violence against Asians. #StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate #StopAsianHateCrimes Follow @aachristcollab for more on this developing story. Grieve in solidarity w/ Asian Americans. And stand against this kind of racial hatred! https://t.co/2sbuD1Emlz
— Helen Lee (@HelenLeeBooks) March 17, 2021
This violence against our Asian American neighbors is from the mouth of hell. Hate acts. It does not stay confined to the heart & mind. It incites the tongue. Untreated, it travels to hands & feet. Hate is murderous. (1Jn 3:15) Stand against it. Speak against it. Pray against it.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) March 17, 2021
To my fellow Asian community: I am so sorry. It hurts so much. Take time to mourn. We weep together. It's overwhelming. Not just today but this entire past year. Words can't articulate the deep pain so many of us have experienced. You're not alone. We see you, love you, need you.
— Eugene Cho (@EugeneCho) March 17, 2021
This is sooo heartbreaking…praying for our world. To my Asian American family, please take time to grieve but know youre loved, seen and IMPORTANT. We have to keep standing up, speaking out, rallying together and fighting for change. We cannot lose hope!! ❤️#StopAsianHate #NOW https://t.co/Xm4ojbJALw
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) March 17, 2021
Stop. Killing. Asians.
Stop. Killing. Asian. Women.
— Raymond Chang (@tweetraychang) March 17, 2021
“There has been a documented pattern of recent attacks against our community, as we have received nearly 3,800 reports of hate incidents across the country since March 2020,” Stop AAPI Hate said in a statement. “Not enough has been done to protect Asian Americans from heightened levels of hate, discrimination and violence.” Of those reports, 68 percent of the victims were women.