Virginia officials denounce recent spike in violence toward Asian Americans


John and Barbara Hayes, of Sandy Springs,Georgia bring flowers and offer prayers on March 17, 2021 at the steps of Gold Spa, one of the three Asian massage parlors that were the sites of deadly attacks in Northeast Atlanta, Georgia on March 16, 2021. – Six Asian women were among eight people shot and killed at spas around the US city of Atlanta, raising fears March 17, 2021 that it might be the most violent chapter yet in a wave of attacks on Asian-Americans. A white man is in custody on suspicion of staging all three attacks, police said as a Georgia state Democratic party leader suggested the attack matched “a pattern” of violence on Asian-Americans during the pandemic. (Photo by Virginie Kippelen / AFP) (Photo by VIRGINIE KIPPELEN/AFP via Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia officials are letting their voices be heard in condemnation of the recent spike in violence toward Asian Americans across the country.

The latest comes after a Georgia man is accused of killing eight people at massage parlors in Atlanta. Six of the victims were Asian and seven were women.

“This is the latest in a series of heinous attacks against Asian Americans across this nation, but sadly these are not isolated events,” said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a release Wednesday morning.

“Hate and bigotry have no place in our Commonwealth or country. We all have a responsibility to condemn these racist acts and make clear that this is not who we are as Virginians, or as Americans.”

Congressman Bobby Scott echoed the sentiment stating that while the Atlanta shooting was “a shocking act of gun violence,” Scott said it was also an act of hate.

“It’s tragic to see how the violence against Asian-Americans has been normalized. This hate has no place in our country. #StopAsianHate.”

Discrimination toward Asian Americans has been boiling for the past year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. From virus-related discrimination, minor aggressions, to blatant attacks, Asian Americans have been the common recipient of the blame for the coronavirus.

Since March, one organization collected almost 3,000 reports of anti-Asian hate throughout the country.

Back in May of last year, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner joined more than a dozen of his Senate colleagues in a letter urging the U.S. Department of Justice to address a rise in discrimination against Asian American and Pacific Islander people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The senators wrote a letter to Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband asking the Civil Rights Division of the department to take “concrete” steps to quash hate crimes — as it has in the past — in particular communities.

In the letter, senators said Asian American organizations have received nearly 1,500 incident reports of anti-Asian harassment and discrimination.

The senators also said they were disappointed in the Department of Justice’s response — of lack thereof — to the rise in hate and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The letter is available here.

For more information on Stop AAPI Hate and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, follow the links.

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