NEW YORK - Several New York City mayoral candidates came to the National Action Network headquarters in Harlem to strongly denounce hate and bias toward Asian Americans. In a press conference, NAN founder Rev. Al Sharpton said, "If you justify hate to anyone, you justify hate to everyone."
The event was held in response to the murders of eight people at three separate massage parlors in the Atlanta area. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent. Authorities said the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, told cops that the murders were not racially motivated. But Sharpton and many others sharply cast doubt on that claim.
"The fact of the matter is even though the officials in Atlanta have not called this a hate crime as of yet," Sharpton said, "it seems clear to us that when a man goes to an Asian spa and then goes 27 miles to another Asian spa, that if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's a duck."
These killings happened at a time when attacks and hate crimes against Asian Americans continue to occur nationwide.
On Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday morning, the House judiciary panel held a hearing focused on the rise of anti-Asian hate. A subcommittee took virtual testimony on the violence Asian Americans have faced both historically and since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Since last year, there have been over 3,800 reported incidents of anti-Asian hate," Rep. Grace Meng of Queens said. "But we know the majority of incidents go reported and, in fact, nearly 70% of reported anti-Asian incidents have happened towards Asian American women."