The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) mourns the killing of the eight victims in the Atlanta-area spa shootings and denounces the racist Anti-Asian sentiments motivating these killings. We grieve for Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Julie Park, Hyeon Jeong Park, Xiaojie Yan, Delaina Ashley Yaun and two other unnamed victims and their communities. Six of these victims were women of Asian descent. This latest attack tragically illustrates the consequences of racism, xenophobia, and misogyny.
The reporting on these events has obscured and minimized who these women were and where they were working - missing the reality and texture of their lives. Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Julie Park, Hyeon Jeong Park, Xiaojie Yan, Delaina Ashley Yaun and the two unnamed victims were treasured human beings with complex lives. They were daughters, sisters, mothers, partners and friends; Asian people of color; migrants and immigrants; and spa workers (to name a few of their multiple identities).
The fetishization, exotification, and dehumanization of Asian women and femmes is a clear link to violence. While none of the individuals killed were confirmed sex workers, the killers statements clearly link his assumption that Asian women exist for his pleasure and justify his violence. Supporting those in survival economies is a survivor justice issue, is a racial justice issue.
It is important to understand the richness of these identities, the oppression and vulnerabilities they faced, and how these connect to the historical, social, and political context in our country. We must acknowledge the United States’ legacy of imperialism and dominance against Asians in this country. Whether through legislation, internment, or occupation, the historic treatment of Asian people in the Americas reveals this violence has been happening for generations.
Anti-Asian violence, violence against women and femmes, and racism are a part of the fabric of United States history and present-day reality. The reluctance of law enforcement and media outlets to classify this incident as a hate crime is an unacceptable, yet all too common, pattern of response and further proves that law enforcement does not protect Asian communities.
As our partners from the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence expressed:
“The intersection of racism and misogyny has stood out starkly in the exponential violence experienced by the Asian community over the last year. When we locate last night’s incident within the surge of violence against Asian women, it becomes clear that misogyny against Asian women is so embedded into our culture that we do not notice it until it manifests into lethal violence.”
NRCDV will not remain silent in the face of repeated and targeted acts of violence based on race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, occupation, and engagement with survival economies. We are committed to naming the realities of people with multiple identities who are targeted and we strive to be in cross-movement solidarity with immigrant justice, labor, and Black liberation movements. We know that white supremacy is the root cause of violence against Asian communities and other communities of color and used as a tool to perpetuate an anti-Black agenda.
NRCDV condemns these acts of violence, and we call upon our nation’s leaders to do their part to end these destructive and senseless acts. We call for stronger actions by policymakers, both nationally and in the states and territories, to protect Asian & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community members from racist violence at home, work, and in public. Perpetrators of hate crimes must be held accountable. Communities targeted must be held, supported, and fought for. We must play a role in shattering racism and acts of violence, and in stepping up to advance racial justice for Asian communities.
Dr. Johnny Rice II Farzana Safiullah
Chair, NRCDV Board CEO, NRCDV
Since March 2020, 3800+ incidents of hate, harassment, or racism have already been reported against Asian and Asian American individuals. Please visit the Stop AAPI Hate page to learn more, or to report an incident.