State Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, talks about efforts to fight hate crimes and gun violence during a press conference at the State Capitol on Thursday to mark the second anniversary of shootings at Asian-owned spas in Atlanta and Cherokee County.
Gwinnett County legislators, District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson and U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath participated in a remembrance marking the two-year anniversary of two shootings that shook the local Asian-American community.
The shootings happened on March 16, 2021 at two Asian-owned spas in metro Atlanta, one in Atlanta and another in Cherokee County, and resulted in the deaths of eight people. Many people have labeled the shootings as racially-motivated hate crimes because most of the victims were Asian-Americans.
“We stand with, we mourn for and we pray for the survivors and the families of the victims of that terrible, terrible shooting,” state Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, said. “Much remains to be done to ensure justice is delivered for our community and for the victims (and) these families.
“A lot of work sill has to be done to ensure we are fighting discrimination of any kind, whether it’s against the Asian-American, the Muslim community or the LGBTQ community.”
The anniversary brought pledges from elected officials to tackle hate crimes and gun violence.
As officials were speaking at a press conference at the State Capitol to mark he anniversary of the shootings on Thursday morning, state Rep. Michelle Au, D-Johns Creek, was presenting a bill addressing pediatric safe storage of guns in a legislative subcommittee. Au was previously a member of the Gwinnett legislative delegation when she served in the Georgia Senate, but her move to the Georgia House took her out of the delegation.
“The AAPI community insists on being seen, we insist on being heard and we know that in order to do that, we must raise our voices and demand it,” Au said. “So, today we honor and remember those that we have lost and we continue to work on their behalf and in their honor.”
The need to address hate crimes and gun violence was a recurring theme among speakers at the commemoration of the spa shooting anniversary.
“Frankly, I’m tired of every day becoming a new anniversary to commemorate another one of our loved ones lost,” state Rep. Ruwa Romman, D-Duluth, said. “So, in honor of those that we have lost, I sincerely hope and I sincerely pray that we dedicate each and every day to fighting back against this hate.”
Austin-Gatson called on Georgians to push back against prejudice, which she said many minority communities face.
“I implore all the members of our community and our society to unite when it comes to anyone in our society being targeted, and especially this day, when we know that Asian-Americans, the AAPI community, has been targeted,” the district attorney said. “It should not be anything that ever gets normalized.
“We should be ready to stand with our entire community and be that city of peace that metro Atlanta is supposed to be.”
Meanwhile, McBath, D-Ga., said supporters of gun control legislation must rededicate themselves to fighting for laws to be passed address gun violence. She highlighted the passage, last year, of the Safer Communities Act in Congress.
Gun control is something which has been a signature issue for the congresswoman, who lost her son to gun violence more than decade ago.
“You are honoring the memory and the legacy of your loved ones in your advocacy,” McBath told the family members of people who were killed in the spa shootings. “Thank you for your courage and thank you for standing here and being a voice for this movement.
“We, in Georgia, are on the front line to end gun violence.”
Success! An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup.
Error! There was an error processing your request.
I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.
On Sunday, it was time for our clocks to "spring forward," lessening the night's sleep by one hour. While it may not seem too significant, Daylight Saving Time can definitely throw everyone for a loop. How do you handle it?
Welcome to the discussion.
Please log in, or sign up for a new, free account to read or post comments.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.