Following the deadly shooting on Tuesday at three Atlanta-area massage parlors that killed eight, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are scheduled to meet with members of the Asian American community in Georgia on Friday.
Six of the eight victims were Asian American.
The shootings come amid a rise in hate crimes directed toward Asian Americans.
While police have not said that Tuesday’s shootings were race related, given the rise in violence directed toward Asian Americans, there has been a #StopAsianHate movement on social media in solidarity with the community.
“While authorities are still investigating the motive in these attacks and whether or not they were anti-Asian in nature, we already know that too many within the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community fear every day for themselves and their loved ones as a result of the spate of attacks over the past year,” said Margaret Huang, president & CEO of Southern Poverty Law Center. “We all must call on elected officials to take steps to counter anti-Asian hate and other extremist or hateful ideology. And law enforcement at every level, along with social media companies, must work together to help intercept and combat this growing threat.”
On Thursday, Biden directed that flags be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of Tuesday’s shootings.
“They will meet with the state legislators and community advocates to hear about the impact of the incident on the community, and to get their perspective on the rise in anti-Asian hate incidents,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said about Friday’s visit. “The President will offer -- also offer his support for the AAPI community in Georgia and across the country and talk about his commitment to combating xenophobia, intolerance, and hate.”