There is a heartbreaking story right now that we should talk about. Last night, a gunman entered three different Atlanta area spas and shot and killed eight people. The majority of the victims were Asian, and all but one were women. And our hearts are broken for their families and loved ones and the community at large.
In isolation, this is a tragedy—it's a sad, horrible tragedy. But what's happening here—it isn't an isolated incident. It comes as the latest in a string of anti-Asian hate and violence, making this a crisis.
According to NYPD data, hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment in New York City alone jumped by 1,900 percent in the last year. One thousand nine hundred percent in 12 months. These numbers are shocking.
But when you think about...when you think about the casual racism that's been pervasive over the past 12 months, then we can start to see the link between language and action. There are real consequences to repeatedly hearing hateful speech. People get hurt, and people die. This mass murder is the product of a system that repeatedly leaves women of color and sex workers in a place where they are invisible. They are vulnerable and targeted.
Identifying these actions as a hate crime isn't just about semantics. And because this is a hate crime, it falls on all of us to address the hate. We are all thinking of those, right now, who are trying to make sense of the senseless and the mourning due to this horrific loss.