Following reports indicating that shootings left eight people dead in the Atlanta area, most of them Asian-American and women, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) released the following statement from Chief Inclusion & Strategic Innovation Officer Minjon Tholen:
“This morning, an entire community and nation are waking up traumatized because of yet another hate-fueled mass shooting. We are witnessing the results of what happens when racist and misogynistic ideologies collide in a society where there is also easy access to guns. This isn’t just trauma — it stands as a blatant assault of the human rights of women, of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), and their allies.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have heard politicians using xenophobic slurs against AAPI people and scapegoating them for the spread of the virus, with crimes against people of Asian descent increasing during this time. We have seen similar hate spread against women, and against Jewish, Muslim, Black, and immigrant communities, and people of color, time and time again leading to violence often perpetrated by white supremacists who have taken those words as marching orders.
“According to data from Stop AAPI Hate, 3,800 incidents of hate directed at Asian Americans were reported over the course of roughly a year during the pandemic- significantly higher than the prior year. Women were 2.3 times more likely than men to report hate incidents. Nationally, a 2019 study by Mother Jones found that in at least 22 mass shootings since 2011, the perpetrators specifically targeted women, had stalked or harassed women, or had a history of domestic violence.
“We demand that elected officials forcefully denounce violence against women and hate crimes against AAPI people, and that the perpetrator of the shootings will be held accountable. This incident also is a stark reminder of the need for the U.S. government and Congress in particular to take meaningful steps to curb the human rights crisis that is gun violence in this country and ensure those who shouldn’t possess weapons can’t access them.
“We can no longer accept the silence and inaction of lawmakers — guns should not be prioritized over the lives of people. Violence against women and hate against the AAPI community must stop immediately. We stand with the AAPI community, and with all those working to stop gender-based violence, and call upon our leaders to join us in the fight to pass meaningful legislation to end the cycle of gun violence.”