A year after fatal spa shooting, Asian Americans continue to face physical and verbal abuse

Amna Nawaz:

Today, commemorations and rallies to fight anti-Asian hatred were held across the country on the one-year anniversary of the mass shootings at three Atlanta-area spas.

To find out more, I am joined by Erika Moritsugu. She is the Assistant Assistant to the President and Senior Liaison for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at the White House. She’s in Atlanta today to mark the anniversary of those spa shootings.

Erika Moritsugu, welcome to “NewsHour”, and thank you for taking the time.

That year, the year since that attack has been so horrific for so many people. I have heard people. They are scared. They buy pepper spray. They don’t want to let their elders go out alone or at night. They feel that no place is safe and that not enough is being done to keep them safe.

So what can you say to these Asian Americans? What are you doing in your role to try to protect them?

Erika Moritsugu, Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Liaison for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Yes, that’s — thank you, Amna.

It’s amazing to be here in Atlanta today with the bereaved family and the local community on behalf of the President and Vice President. I came here to stand in solidarity with them and to let them know that the President and Vice President are not just continuing to talk about their trip here this time last year. They think about it all the time.

And that was one thing that was a marker to honor the victims, to be with the families and the local community members, and also to talk to them openly about the actions that the president or the vice president has taken, what he remains to be done – we know that there is still a lot to do – and also to listen to what they have to repair from the trauma they are facing.

Listening is important, to know that they have an access point to policy makers, but also just to sit in silent, supportive camaraderie with them, as these are the families who are still grieving. And this is a community, a local community that is still traumatized.

But the Atlanta murders last year were also a national moment. And the impact of those shootings has shaken the Asian American community and reverberated across the country, which is why the president and vice president traveled last year to meet with leaders of the Asian American community. And their commitment and our work continues today.


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