We at Legal Aid are horrified by the tragic violence in Georgia on Tuesday evening that stole the lives of eight individuals—six of whom are of Asian descent, and seven of whom are women. We mourn their loss and recommit ourselves to work that honors them and the countless other victims of race and gender-based violence.
These senseless killings take place at a time when we are witnessing a surge of hate crimes against Asian Americans throughout the United States. According to a recent report by Stop AAPI Hate, Asian Americans have reported roughly 3,800 incidents of hate-related acts since the pandemic struck. But the Atlanta shooter also targeted women, and in particular, women associated with an industry vulnerable to terror and abuse. This is consistent with another deeply troubling pattern: In the past year, Asian American women—too often hypersexualized and objectified in our culture—have disproportionately experienced hate-related harassment, bullying, abuse, and violence, at a rate 2.3 times that of Asian American men.
Legal Aid’s Domestic Violence/Family Law Unit seeks every day to empower victims of violence to leave abusive situations. Tuesday’s violence and sexualized misogyny reaffirmed fears felt by many Asian Americans in the communities we serve. This moment calls for Legal Aid and our allies to apply an intentional, intersectional analysis to our work to improve and sharpen our advocacy. We will rise to the occasion and meet this challenge.
Finally, we recognize that our words alone are not enough to combat these forms of targeted, anti-Asian racism and believe we all have the opportunity and obligation to do this work. Stop AAPI Hate offers practical resources on how we all can be allies. We encourage you to take a moment to find ways to get involved.