Minority communities work together for change a year after tragic spa shootings

ATLANTA — In the days, weeks and months after the deadly spa shootings, metro Atlanta saw vigils, rallies and gatherings. The community showed support for one another after the tragedy.

Wednesday marks one year since eight people were killed, including several women of Asian descent.

Local, county and state leaders are once again hoping to build unity.

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Days after the spa shootings, people of various races came together and rallied at Liberty Plaza in Atlanta.

For many in the Asian American community, that moment was a spark of hope during a very dark time.

Channel 2′s Sophia Choi spoke with state lawmakers Sam Park and Bee Nguyen outside the State Capitol, as she did one year ago shortly after the shootings.

Their hope then was that the momentum between minority groups after the violence would help pass, tougher gun control laws.

That did not happen.

“We’re still in the mix, an elevated time in which we see discrimination and violence against Asian Americans, and Asian-American women in particular,” Park said.

“They’re still the subject of racism and xenophobia,” Nguyen said

Channel 2 has not heard reports of violence against Asian Americans in Georgia following the spa shootings, but reports of racism led Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts to pass a resolution deeming March 16 Atlanta Spa Victims Remembrance Day.

“Here these people are who really are attacking what I consider a minority group within minority groups,” Pitts said.


Choi saw both white and Black residents coming by to share their sadness with those Asian American lawmakers. Georgia’s NAACP president said the camaraderie between those minority groups is growing.

“Only when we work together is when we truly make a difference,” Rev. James Woodall said.

“The first people who reached out to me were the Black Legislative Caucus here and the Georgia NAACP,” Nguyen said. “And they said, ‘We know all too well your pain, we have your back.’  And that is a message I tell the Asian community every opportunity. I have because we have to show up for Black lives and we have to show our solidarity,”

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On Wednesday, a rally at Liberty Plaza will mark the one-year anniversary of the spa shootings.

Organizers said several Black leaders, including Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, will be there to stand shoulder to shoulder with their Asian American neighbors.