(Atlanta, GA)- On March 16th, 2021, eight beloved community members were killed by a white supremacist at three different spas in Cherokee County, GA. More than half of the victims of this hate crime were Asian and most were women.

We know that the attack on March 16th is not an isolated event, but rather is an outcome of a legacy of white supremacy, patriarchal violence, US imperialism, and the persistent dehumanization of Asian folks as a tool for political warfare. Racialized gender-based violence  is at the core of the attack in Cherokee County, GA, and any refusal to acknowledge that reality is irresponsible and dangerous. This violence is also rooted in the harmful structures of sex trafficking perpetuated throughout this country and beyond. In part fueled by the hate propaganda designed by the Trump administration to scapegoat Asian peoples for the state’s lack of response to COVID-19 crisis. These structural sites of violence have compounded to embolden white supremacists to continue their long traditions of patriarchal violence and xenophobia.

The murder of our community members can not be allowed to continue, and in our desire for authentic safety and transformation, we are further compelled to dismantle white supremacy, patriarchal violence, and racial capitalism that have allowed for violent actions like these to manifest. 

Karissa Lewis, Movement For Black Lives Director of Organizing, says, “An attack on our people means an attack on all of us. Being able to connect the local, state, and federal implications of how often patriarchal gendered violence is swept under the rug in marginalized communities means we have more work to do.”  

The Rising Majority, as a Black and People of color-led formation, is heartbroken that more of our community members have been taken from us. We are disappointed by the narrative that has taken hold that normalizes the actions of the white supremacist while disregarding the righteous rage and fear that our Asian family feel in this moment.  We stand in solidarity and deep political unity with our  communities in Georgia who are grieving. 

At this moment, our Georgia family is calling for community support of the victims and their families to ensure they are taken care of. If you are feeling the heaviness of this moment and want to show up, we ask that you take a moment and donate what you can to the Asian-Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta’s victim support fund. 

Over the years, there has been an upsweep of multi-racial solidarity in the face of white supremacy. We must continue to ask ourselves what does solidarity mean beyond a statement, beyond a moment, and beyond a news cycle.

“This moment calls for us to truly sit with what solidarity means in our movements and how we can best intervene in moments of deep communal harm. Asian communities are facing the brunt of this week’s attack but we must start sitting with why the abolition of white supremacy means multiracial liberation for us all.” Lucia Lin, National Coordinator of Grassroots Asians Rising.

Locally we know that Asian communities have been under duress as the policing of spas, immigrant and refugee communities, and gender-oppressed people has skyrocketed in the last four years under the Trump era and continues today. 

In the following days and weeks, we can expect that local Cherokee county and Fulton county officials will use this moment to call for more policing. As we honor the pain, fear, and mourning that this violent moment is bringing up, we encourage our communities to consider the danger of false solutions. We must stand firm in dismantling misogyny, systemic violence, and white supremacy.  We reject increased police presence or carceral solutions as the answers, as they grow out of the very systems that emboldened this violent murder. We must invest in long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence and hate in our communities. 

The reality of this violence is still developing. In upcoming weeks, the Rising Majority in partnership with our member organizations South East Asian Freedom Network, Grassroots Asian Rising, and others, will be offering space for political education, reflection on what authentic nuanced solidarity looks like, and action. 

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