The mass shooting that left eight dead in Atlanta, the majority of them Asian women who worked in spas, has left communities reeling after a marked rise in anti-Asian racism and violent attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delaina Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Soon C. Park, Hyun J. Grant, Suncha Kim and Yong A. Yue died in the shootings.
The gunman told police that his attacks were not motivated by race, something repeated by local enforcement at a press conference about the shootings, which prompted massive backlash online and in the Atlanta community.
South Korean media outlet Chosun Ilbo reported on an interview with a spa employee who said they heard the gunman allegedly say he was “going to kill all Asians.”
Authorities say they are now investigating the shootings as possible hate crimes.
Advocacy groups like Stop AAPI Hate in the U.S. and Fight COVID Racism in Canada have reported surges in hate crimes across North America.
As of Thursday evening, Fight COVID Racism was reporting 944 incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes across Canada during the pandemic.
Canada has a higher number of reported anti-Asian hate crime incidents per Asian capita compared to the U.S., according to Project 1907, with Toronto showing the second-highest rate of cases involving anti-Asian hate crimes among major cities, following Vancouver.
Vancouver saw a 717 per cent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes from 2019 to 2020, according to a report released by the Vancouver Police Department.