Stop AAPI Hate reports increase in hate incidents since Atlanta spa shootings

In this March 20, 2021, file photo, woman holds a sign and attends a rally to support stop AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) hate at the Logan Square Monument in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

This week marks one year since eight people were killed in a mass shooting at three spas in Atlanta and Cherokee County. Six of those killed were Asian women. 

Numbers from a national advocacy group tracking race-based crimes and harassment show there has been an increase in anti-Asian hate incidents nationwide. 

The group Stop AAPI Hate says anti-Asian comments from leading politicians about the pandemic prompted a national increase in harassment and violence toward Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The organization recorded of more than 6,000 reported hate incidents against the AAPI community in 2021.

“It’s not simply those incidents that involve crimes that create pain, trauma and suffering for community members,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, one of the co-founders of Stop AAPI Hate. “If you’re not able to pick up your prescriptions at your local pharmacy, or your child is not able to go to school and feel safe and welcomed, all of those impact your daily life.”

Kulkarni said calling the police for crimes is not the only way to stop racist discrimination.

“When you are refused service at a restaurant or grocery store, if you’re discriminated at work or in your apartment complex, all of those can be redressed by our current laws,” she said.

To prevent more anti-Asian discrimination, Stop AAPI Hate is calling for widespread education about the country’s history of anti-Asian killings and laws.

In the meantime, vigils are planned on Wednesday to honor the victims of the spa shootings one year ago.