CAPAC Members Mourn Victims of Atlanta Spa Shootings and Condemn Anti-Asian Violence

Mar 17, 2021

Washington, D.C. — Last night, a shooter targeted three separate Asian-owned spas in Georgia, killing eight people and injuring one more. Six of the eight victims who were murdered were Asian American women. The suspect has since been taken into custody. While authorities are still investigating the motive of the shooting, including whether it constitutes a hate crime, the deadly attack comes at a time when the Asian American community has already experienced an alarming rise in anti-Asian hate bigotry. Over the past year, 3,800 hate incidents against Asian Americans have been documented. Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Members and House Democratic Leaders issued the following statements:

CAPAC Leadership

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Last night in Atlanta, eight more people were killed as a result of the latest act of violence targeting Asian American communities. I am heartbroken by this attack, and my heart goes out to the victims, their loved ones, and to the millions of Asian Americans terrified by this historic spike in anti-Asian hate incidents. In just the last year, there have been almost 4,000 reported anti-Asian hate incidents – 68% of which have been against women. This has created greater fear in so many communities where AAPIs were already risking their lives working at front line jobs during the pandemic. Now they’re facing the risk of violence as well. This violence must stop and it begins with ending the use of xenophobic slurs like ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Kung flu’ that we know increase stigma and the risk of violence. Already, President Biden has shown tremendous leadership and compassion by condemning this violence and issuing a presidential memorandum to combat anti-Asian xenophobia. Congress must also do more to address hate crimes and incidents through the passage of the NO HATE Act to ensure we are able to better track and address these incidents. We can defeat this hate, but only if we all stand together.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“I am grieving for the lives of the eight people, including the six Asian women, who were victims of yesterday’s mass shooting in the Atlanta-area. My heart goes out to the victims’ families and their communities. This terrible tragedy comes at a time when the Asian American community is already living in fear from year-long anti-Asian attacks and discrimination. Our community is already traumatized. The violence, racism, and hate against AAPIs must end.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Second Vice Chair:

“A man shot and killed eight women last night in Atlanta, six of them Asian women, at their place of work. This horrible act of violence unfolded as we are seeing a disturbing rise in anti-Asian crimes and sentiment nationwide, and it also appears to be another deadly, misogynistic act against women. This violence must be condemned and addressed, and it must end. In light of this, I’m glad that the House is taking action to stop AAPI hate by holding a hearing this week in the Judiciary Committee on the rise in hate crimes against our community. We cannot ignore what’s happening. We must offer our support to the victims of this crime, their families, and their communities, and remain outspoken against gun violence, hate, and discrimination in all its forms. We need to be there for the Asian American community during these difficult times.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“I’m deeply saddened by the news of another mass shooting in Atlanta. My heart goes out to the families of the victims. Although we await more details, we know that at least six of the eight victims were Asian, and that the alleged murderer targeted three locations where the victims would disproportionately be Asian women. At a time when we’re already seeing a spike in anti-Asian violence, this unspeakable tragedy adds to the long list of Asian Americans who have been harassed, verbally assaulted, discriminated against and attacked since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The former president and his administration chose to use phrases like “Kung Flu” to describe the coronavirus in an effort to scapegoat and shift blame off of themselves. Words have consequences, and now Asian Americans across the country are suffering. I urge all public officials to do their part and condemn this violence and not inflame further discrimination. This is not who we are.”

Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02), CAPAC Freshman Representative:

“I am horrified by the violent, senseless shootings that took eight lives in Georgia last night. My heartfelt aloha goes out to the families of the victims and their communities that are forever changed by these acts of violence. Many of the victims were Asian American. Attacks against Asian Americans in their own communities in our country is rising. We must stand up in solidarity with the AAPI community and strengthen our resolve against violence in all forms, in all communities.”

House Democratic Leadership

Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

“All Americans are praying for the victims of the brutal shootings in Georgia, and we grieve with their families and loved ones. These shootings are a vicious and vile act that compound the fear and pain that Asian-Americans face each day.  It is a profound and cruel injustice that, amid the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis, the AAPI community also faces the surging threat of violent and deadly attack.  The nearly 3,800 reports of incidents targeting the AAPI community over the past year are a challenge to the conscience of the country. Answers are urgently needed to determine whether this deadly attack was a hate crime, and what can be done to prevent such an act from ever again happening. Our entire nation must come together to speak out to Stop Asian Hate.  President Biden is to be commended on his executive actions to condemn these attacks and to empower the Justice Department to combat the violence.  And, led by the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, we will continue our work to end violence and bigotry in America.”

Congressman Steny Hoyer (MD-05), House Majority Leader:

“This was a horrible act of violence, and while the perpetrator’s motives are still being investigated, we do know that our country has experienced a spate of bigotry, discrimination, and violence against Asian Americans in recent months.  We must stand united with Asian Americans and denounce racial violence vehemently.  I will continue to work closely with CAPAC to address this epidemic of racism and violent hate that continues to spread.”

Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-05), Assistant Speaker of the House:

“My heart breaks for the victims of the Georgia shooting and for their families and friends in mourning. We must stand up against the rise in bigotry and violence facing our AAPI neighbors. Violent, hateful words lead to violent, hateful actions. Tragically, this is a pattern fueled by powerful voices. It must stop. None of us is safe into all of us are.”

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), House Democratic Caucus Chairman:

“My prayers and deepest sympathies go out to the families of the victims of the tragic and violent massacre down in the Atlanta metro area. Any and all perpetrators must be prosecuted, convicted and locked up to the full extent of the law. The House Democratic Caucus stands in full and complete solidarity with our Asian American brothers and sisters throughout the country, and we will not rest until we stop Asian hate.”

CAPAC Executive Board Members

Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL):

“My heart is with the families who lost loved ones last night in Atlanta. While there's still so much we don't know about these tragic shootings, we do know that our Asian American community is understandably—and justifiably—outraged after enduring a year of heinous hate crimes and increased discrimination. As we learn more about the motives behind these awful crimes, we must fully investigate whether hate or racism played a role and bring those accountable to justice.

“Blaming the AAPI community for a public health crisis is racist and wrong. Continuing to treat Asian Americans—many of whom are on frontlines helping this country respond to the deadly pandemic—like ‘others’ only further divides our country and leads to violence against innocent people. It must stop. It is the responsibility of all Americans, including those of us in leadership positions, to help put an end to the disease of hatred that’s spreading through our country right now. And it is long past time for Congress to take meaningful steps to prevent gun violence and ensure firearms don’t fall into the hands of dangerous people.”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono (HI):

“My heart breaks for the 8 people – including 6 women of Asian descent – who were murdered in Atlanta last night. This senseless act adds to the pain and suffering of the Asian community during a year of increased racism and attacks targeting AAPIs. We must continue speaking up and condemning these actions.”

Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07):

“I join my colleagues in mourning the eight victims of yesterday’s deadly attack in Atlanta, six of whom were Asian women. Our country has seen a dramatic rise in violence and racism directed towards the Asian American community. We all must speak up and condemn racist and xenophobic rhetoric that fuels such violence and discrimination. America is a nation of immigrants and we are strengthened by our diversity. I stand in solidarity with the AAPI community during this difficult time.”

Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34):

“Last night’s shootings in Georgia are a senseless, horrific act of terror against the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community. Racist rhetoric has fueled anti-Asian hate crimes and now a deadly shooting. This is a national crisis and MUST be treated as such. My thoughts are with the victims’ families during this tragic time.”

Congressman Al Green (TX-09):

I am truly saddened by the devastating acts of hate and violence that transpired in Atlanta. The AAPI community has been suffering enormously during this pandemic due to rising incidents of targeted hate and xenophobia. We must take immediate action to hold those responsible accountable and put an end to these deadly attacks once and for all. I send my deepest condolences to the loved ones of those who lost their lives in these senseless shootings and demand justice.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17):

“The violent murder of the Asian American women last night in Atlanta is all too familiar. #StopAsianHate.”

Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03):

“The AAPI community across our country has endured attack after attack. We are tired, we are scared, and we are more resolved than ever to take action to stop this wave of violence. It’s going to need everyone – the AAPI community and our allies – to stand up against this blind hatred. It’s time to turn this fear and frustration into action.”

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08):

“I’m heartbroken at the lives lost in the Atlanta spa shootings last night. While we’re still learning the specific details of these brutal attacks, there is no doubt that this is a frightening time for the Asian-American community because of the hate-motivated violence we’ve witnessed across the country. As a nation, we must come together to end this violence, the hateful rhetoric and harassment which have accompanied it, and the broader xenophobia and bigotry which laid its foundation.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13):

“My heart breaks for the eight lives that were stolen in the tragic and violent attack in Atlanta last night. My prayers are with their families, loved ones, and community. I join my colleagues in condemning the horrific attacks on the AAPI community and the rise in anti-Asian discrimination since the start of the pandemic. We must make clear that racism, hate, and violence have no place in our country. I stand with the AAPI community in Atlanta, in the East Bay, and across our country during this time of unimaginable loss and heartbreak.” 

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10):

“The brutal murders in Atlanta yesterday have inflicted an unimaginable amount of anguish, pain and suffering on the victims’ families experiencing a trauma no one should ever face. I stand with the entire community as we mourn the devastating loss of eight precious lives, including six Asian women. Racially motivated violence must be called out for exactly what it is and we must stop making excuses for it or rebranding it as economic anxiety or sexual addiction.”

CAPAC Associate Members

Senator Jacky Rosen (NV):

“I'm heartbroken by last night's tragic shootings in Atlanta, and my condolences are with the loved ones of the eight victims. We've seen a horrifying rise in violence against Asian Americans and the AAPI community. There's no place for hate in our country. While we're still gathering information on the recent shootings in Atlanta, one thing is clear: we must stand up against anti-Asian xenophobia, racism, and bigotry.”

Congressman Collin Allred (TX-32):

“Yesterday’s attack in Georgia was tragic and my heart goes out to the families of the victims. I stand with the AAPI community across North Texas and join my CAPAC colleagues in condemning racism, bigotry, and hate against Asian-Americans.”

Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37):

“I join the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in mourning the victims of last night’s devastating attack. I also join my colleagues in standing resolved against spiking anti-Asian violence and hatred in this country related to the pandemic. Increased attacks against Asian Americans across the country over the past year have resulted in pain, anger and fear and I stand in solidarity with these communities as we work together to stop Asian hate.”

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01):

“The murders in Atlanta are heinous crimes. I stand in support with the Asian American communities in Atlanta, in Oregon, and around the country. Our AAPI neighbors and friends were already hurting from increased racist attacks during the pandemic. We must reckon with our country’s history of racism against Asian Americans, and the violence, hatred, xenophobia must end.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07):

“Like so many across our country, I watched in horror last night as news broke of the murder of eight people in the Atlanta area. Six of the victims were Asian-American women, coming after weeks of vitriol and violence against the Asian-American community in the United States. While we wait for further investigation into the motivations of this attack, my heart goes out to the victims’ families and loved ones, and I thank the Atlanta Police Department for swiftly apprehending the suspected killer. Today, our greater Atlanta community is in mourning, but we know this: hate will not stand. Violence will not stand.”

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01):

“My heart breaks for the victims of the shooting in Atlanta last night & their families. This senseless act of gun violence has left 8 people dead, including 6 Asian American women. We must protect & support our AAPI community & end this alarming rise of anti-Asian hate across the country.”

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12):

“Targeted violence against Asian Americans must end immediately. Dangerous discrimination against the Asian American community has led to this violence against our neighbors. My heart goes out to all of the family and friends mourning lost loved ones in the Atlanta area today.”

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07):

“My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the victims of yesterday’s brutal killings in Atlanta and to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, which has experienced increasing discrimination and violence over the past year. While we must see where the investigation of yesterday's shooting leads, we do not need to wait to address the anti-Asian sentiments across our country and to stand against hate toward our AAPI neighbors.”

Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04):

“I am sickened by the deadly attacks in Atlanta that left eight people dead, most of them Asian women. Over the last year, we have seen a rise in senseless crimes and bigotry against Asian Americans, causing immense pain and fear. I stand in solidarity with Asian Americans across the country to mourn those we lost last night, and my thoughts go out to the families of the victims.”

Congresswoman Sara Jacob (CA-53):

“I stand in solidarity and grief with the victims of last night’s horrifying violence in Georgia, with their families, and with every AAPI community member who woke up feeling more traumatized and less safe because of who they are. These attacks are part of an escalating national trend of Anti-Asian violence and bigotry, that has unfortunately long been a part of American history. We all have a responsibility to name it and work together to end it. Our AAPI community deserves to live in safety, security, and dignity.”

Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03):

“I’m heartbroken by the shootings in Atlanta last night that left eight people dead, including six Asian American women. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. Attacks against the Asian American community have been on the rise over the past year, and we must continue to speak out against hate, condemn bigotry.”

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47):

“While we wait for further details of yesterday’s shooting in Atlanta, we cannot dismiss the real fear that is rippling through our community right now. Contrary to the Atlanta sheriff department’s characterization of the shooter as having a bad day, he had plans to continue his massacre in Florida. At a time when hate crimes against the Asian community are on the rise, we cannot ignore the anti-Asian sentiments our neighbors, friends, and loved ones have faced and continue to face. Though we are 2,000 miles from Atlanta, the effect of this massacre on our Asian American community is clear. Today, and every day, I stand against gun violence, gender violence, and hate crimes.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12):

“I am horrified at the news coming out of Georgia at a time when we are already seeing a spike in anti-Asian violence. Six of these victims were Asian American women during a pandemic when Asian Americans have been attacked and harassed because of misinformation and xenophobia that wrongly blamed them for the COVID-19 virus. Incidents like these are why we must always call out bigotry and hate - wherever and whenever we see it. My heart goes out to the victims and their families.”

Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45):

“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in anti-Asian hate and violence. I stand in solidarity with the Atlanta community in the wake of tragic shootings that have taken the lives of eight Americans, six of whom were Asian-American women. Even as people get vaccinated, our country will not fully heal from this pandemic as long as racism persists.”

Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08):

“My heart goes out to the loved ones of the victims in the horrific Atlanta shootings. America mourns today and stands everyday with our AAPI communities against violence.”

Congressman Brad Sherman (CA-30):

“I’m horrified by the news coming out of Georgia and my heart goes out to all the victims and their loved ones. Although details are still unfolding, according to news reports at least six of the victims appear to be Asian women. We don’t know the motives of this killer yet, but it is clear that people of Asian descent have been targeted for attacks, including deadly attacks, simply because they are Asian.  When groups are vilified, we know that violence, harassment and discrimination follow. It is important that we learn more about the victims. The victims are not a faceless group.  They were someone’s daughter, wife, mother.” 

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09):

“It is absolutely devastating to hear about the shooting in Atlanta that left eight dead including six Asian American women. This horrific surge in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders happening across the country is repugnant, and we mourn with the families of these victims and others who have been attacked for no reason other than the color of their skin. We must acknowledge the fact that these attacks have disproportionately impacted elders and women, and that this is a result of the racist rhetoric centered around the COVID-19 pandemic – even peddled by other elected officials – which led us directly to where we are today. It is incumbent upon all of us to speak out against hate and violence directed at the Asian American community and we must stand with those bearing the brunt of this vilification.”

Congressman Thomas Suozzi (NY-03):

“The hateful massacre in Atlanta is shocking and appalling. My heat breaks for the victims, their family, their friends, and their loved ones. We can and we must do more to stop all Asian hate and violence.”

Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA-35):

I send my deepest sympathies to the victims and families impacted by the horrific shooting in Atlanta yesterday. As we mourn the loss of eight innocent lives in the days to come, we must acknowledge that the AAPI community has faced a spike in anti-Asian violence for at least the last year. The pain, anger and fear resulting from all of this is utterly unacceptable, especially given the history of racism that Asian Americans have faced in the United States. We each have a responsibility to stand up to bigotry and xenophobia wherever we encounter it.”

Congresswoman David Trone (MD-06):

“The horrific attacks in Georgia show that anti-AAPI hatred is very much present in our country today, and it's critical that we come together to root out this hatred wherever it exists. I'm standing strong with AAPI communities in Maryland and across the country as we demand an end to this senseless violence.”

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.