Brooklynites came together to denounce the Atlanta shootings at three separate rallies across the borough on Sunday — arguing that the massacre that killed six Asian women exemplified the increased racism Asian-Americans have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That is hate,” said state Sen. John Liu, who represents Queens, during a March 21 rally outside Brooklyn Borough Hall. “That is a feeling that we all feel as Asian-Americans, that somehow we’re not people or we’re not Americans. We’re perpetual foreigners.”
The protests come less than one week after a 21-year-old suspect Robert Aaron Long opened fire in three spas and massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia on March 16, killing eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent.
Officers from the Atlanta Police Department have faced backlash after not labeling the incident a hate crime, claiming instead that Long was motivated by a sexual addiction, and that he “had a bad day.” Police are still investigating the shootings, and Long remains in custody.
Nationwide, attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have surged over the last year. New York City has seen the biggest spike in anti-Asian hate crimes in the country, with incidents jumping from three to 28 in 2020 — an 833 percent increase, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
During three protests on Sunday, Brooklynites fought back against the rise in hate. One rally, hosted by Borough President Eric Adams outside Borough Hall, drew Brooklyn legislators, activists, and local officials who vowed to bring those attackers of the Asian-Americans community to justice.