Hollywood celebrities are speaking up about anti-Asian violence after eight people were killed in the Atlanta, Georgia spa shootings this week.
The shootings prompted a number of Asian American celebrities to condemn the killings and speak out against targeted hate crimes in the community with the hashtag Stop Asian Hate going viral.
Gemma Chan of “Crazy Rich Asians” reacted on Instagram saying, “Please pay attention to what is happening. Racism and misogyny are not mutually exclusive. In fact, sexualised racial harassment and violence is something that many of us face regularly.”
An analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, in February examined hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities. The data showed anti-Asian hate crimes increased nearly 150% in 2020 in the U.S. and that violence has continued into 2021.
“We need to stop the dehumanisation of Asians. We need to stop the scapegoating of Asians for COVID. We need to unite against all forms of hate,” Chan said on Instagram. “Please spread awareness, check in on your Asian friends because we are not ok.. educate yourself and others on the model minority myth and the long history of anti-Asian racism. ... Please don’t be silent.”
According to authorities, the shootings occurred in three different businesses primarily consisting of Asian employees. Seven out of the eight people were women, six were Asian, and two were white.
Margaret Cho, an Asian American actress and comedian who lived in Atlanta for seven years tweeted, “I am so angry and full of grief because of what happened yesterday. It is a hate crime. When you kill [six] Asian women, it’s a hate crime. I don’t know why that’s even a question. This is terrorism, and this is a hate crime. Stop killing us.”
The NYPD reported that hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment jumped 1900% in New York City in 2020 and research released by reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate on Tuesday revealed nearly 3,800 incidents were reported over the course of the pandemic. Since then the numbers have continued to increase.
“Last night when I heard the news, I was sick to my stomach and couldn’t sleep. Asians are being attacked for no reason,” USC alum and Miami reporter Frances Wang told Annenberg Media earlier this week. “After this I need to make an appointment with my therapist because there is a lot to debrief personally and professionally.”
Even if the Atlanta shootings are not classified as hate crimes, Nguyen says it doesn’t make the tragedy any less triggering or traumatic, and everyone should be allowed to process their emotions. “Give yourself permission to feel, grieve, scream, be angry,” she tweeted. “Unplug and seek support, use music as medicine, lean on friends. Find love.”