On Tuesday, eight people were fatally shot at three Atlanta-based spa businesses. Six of the eight victims were Asian women. Authorities have not yet declared an official motive for the shooting (the gunman, who is white, claimed that the attacks weren’t “racially motivated”), but the tragedy has instigated discussions about the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes across America — and what Americans can do as fellow community members.
Violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans have spiked in the past year: In 16 of America’s biggest cities, the number of reported anti-Asian hate crimes increased nearly 150 percent in 2020, according to an analysis from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSU San Bernardino. The advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate released a report this week that it had received over 3,800 reports of verbal harassment, civil rights violations, and physical assault from March 2020 to February 2021. Certain Asian community members — women and elderly people — also appear to be more vulnerable than others to attacks and harassment.
Over the past 24 hours, my social media feeds have been full of posts spotlighting the Atlanta shooting and the complex history of violence against Asians in the US, and outlining ways to help Asian American communities. The sheer amount of resources shared can be overwhelming, so Vox compiled a short list of national and community-focused organizations you can contribute to or amplify.
- The Atlanta arm of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) has organized a fundraiser to directly help the victims and their families, in addition to the broader Asian American communities in Georgia that have been impacted by violence. You can also donate directly to AAJC’s Atlanta chapter or the national nonprofit organization.
- The Asian American Resource Center is a Georgia-based nonprofit that offers assistance to struggling Asian American families. Its two main programs secure housing for homeless families and provide free English literacy and civics classes to immigrants.
- The Center for Pan Asian Community Services is a Georgia-based nonprofit that advocates for and provides a range of social services help to Asian immigrants, refugees, and the underprivileged.
- The Asian Pacific Fund raises money for community organizations trying to combat anti-Asian racism in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund is a New York-based national organization that litigates, educates, and provides legal resources for Asian Americans and community groups.
As Vox’s Li Zhou explained, the spa shootings in Atlanta cannot be divorced from the history of racism and sexualized misogyny Asian women experience. According to authorities, the suspect claims he carried out the attacks toward businesses he saw as venues for “temptation he wanted to eliminate.” It is not yet known whether the spas provide sexual services, but “the conflation of massage parlors and sex workers without any nuance is very specific to anti-Asian racism against Asian women,” Esther K, co-director of Red Canary Song, a grassroots Chinese massage parlor worker coalition, told the Guardian. Here are some organizations that specifically advocate for Asian American women.
- Red Canary Song is a New York City-based grassroots massage parlor worker coalition that provides mutual aid to sex workers and advocates for the decriminalization of sex work in New York. The group takes its name from massage worker Yang Song, who was killed during a police raid at her workplace.
- The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum works to organize in 14 US cities, including Atlanta, and amplifies the stories and experiences of AAPI women. The group bases its work in a reproductive justice framework.
- The National Organization of Asians and Pacific Islanders Ending Sexual Violence supports local and international community-based programs that offer services to victims of sexual violence from AAPI communities in the US, Asia, and US territories in the Pacific.
- The Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project provides services to AAPI survivors of domestic violence in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.