March 17, 2022

On One-Year Anniversary of Tragic Atlanta Spa Shooting, Duckworth Attends Vigil and Calls on Americans to Help Extinguish Anti-Asian Hate


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – On yesterday’s one-year anniversary of the Atlanta Spa Shooting that claimed the lives of eight Americans, including six Asian American women, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) participated in a virtual vigil to honor their memories and vow to do all she can to help confront anti-Asian hate. She was joined by the Illinois Asian Caucus, including State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (IL-D-17) and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Josina Morita as well as Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. As Duckworth and the group reflected on how the tragedy and two years of spiking anti-Asian crimes has impacted their lives, they also discussed their priorities for protecting the AANHPI community and building solidarity. A screenshot of yesterday’s vigil is available here.

“While I was honored to join the Illinois Asian Caucus at last night’s virtual vigil, I’m reminded that the eight people lost to senseless violence a year ago yesterday, six of whom were Asian American women, deserve more than our respects—they deserve to be here,” said Duckworth. “The Atlanta Spa Shooting was an unspeakable tragedy after a year of unfathomable cruelty during the public health crisis of our lifetimes, and we saw hate crimes against Asian Americans rise by nearly 339 percent in the last year. Hate is relentless. It doesn’t stop. It follows neither rhyme nor reason. But we have the ability—and, more importantly, the responsibility—to fight back against this rise in violence by supporting victims of hate crimes, protecting the AANHPI community and rooting out anti-Asian bias.”

FBI data from 2021 shows that Anti-Asian hate crimes increased more than 73 percent in 2020, including 279 reported hate crimes against Asians in 2020, compared to 161 in 2019. In response to the ongoing and inexcusable violence, Duckworth helped write the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, a bill to address the rise in hate crimes and violence against the AANHPI community. In May 2021, President Biden signed the bill into law.

The Illinois Asian American Caucus acts as a representative of Asian Americans in the state of Illinois by advocating for respect and resources to the community. They help connect a diverse range of Asian American communities by developing strategies and identifying opportunities for advancement. Additionally, the Asian American Caucus strives to educate the public on Asian American identities and issues. They work in conjunction with other caucuses that represent Illinoisans of color such as African Americans and the Latinx community.

This event was cohosted by the Asian American Caucus, The Asian American Foundation, Apna Ghar, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Chinese American Women in Action, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, Hanul Family Alliance, Japanese American Citizens League—Chicago Chapter, KAN-WIN, South Asian American Policy & Research Institute and United Chinese American Illinois Chapter.