On March 16, 2021, a man killed eight people — six of whom were Asian women — across three spas in Atlanta. The man said he opened fire on these massage parlor workers to “eliminate sexual temptation” for himself and others, a reflection of the sexualized image of Asian women. Almost one year later, Anti-Asian hate crimes increased 339% from 2020 to 2021, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
The first three months of 2022 have already seen the death of two APISA women, Michelle Go and Christina Yuna Lee, alongside a slew of violent assaults. The recent and continued trend of racially motivated attacks against people of Asian descent since the COVID-19 pandemic struck has left the community in a state of prolonged mourning and chronic grieving.
Members and allies of the Asian, Pacific-Islander and South Asian (APISA) community gathered in a vigil organized by the USC Asian Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Association (APIFSA), USC APASS, USC APASA, and USC Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL) on Wednesday evening to remember the recent victims of anti-Asian hate.
Healing, love and justice don’t just come to you. You have to want them, and you have to know that it is your right to live in whatever space you choose to live in, safely, with dignity and a sense of community.— Linda Truong, Co-Chair of USC APIFSA.
I had grown up listening to this concerto as it was my grandfather’s favorite piece of music and one of the most famous Chinese classical works, and for that it has always had a special place in my heart in my identity as an Asian American musician. Recently, I found that this concerto has come into limelight as Olympic skater Karen Chen used this piece for her Free Skate. I hoped that this piece resonated with the community at the vigil in reflecting upon the beauty of our identity while recognizing the injustices we still face today.— Elizabeth Wei, a junior double majoring in violin performance and applied and computational mathematics
William and I really wanted to be inspired by Elizabeth’s music. Our plan was to feel present in the moment [and]; influenced by the people around us. The core of the vigil was to reflect on the terrible injustices facing the Asian community. Due to this, we came in with no choreography. Instead, we developed the movement in the moment and planned to come together at the end!— Hayden Rivas, a sophomore majoring in dance
Correction: A previous version of this article used the acronym “APIDA.” All instances of the term have been changed to “APISA,” which is more reflective of the heterogeneity in South Asian communities.