Arizona Asian Americans are reacting to the shooting attacks on three different Asian spas in Atlanta, Georgia.
Earlier this week, police say Robert Aaron Long killed six Asian American women, and injured two more during a shooting spree. Police said Long told them the shootings were not racially motivated.
"It’s really terrifying and shocking... I’ve been feeling very under siege, very afraid," said Karen Kuo, Asian American Pacific Studies Professor at Arizona State University. "It’s not random, it’s definitely motivated by how he perceived Asian American women in our culture."
"If a person is going to three different places that are Asian businesses, murdering individuals in those businesses, of course it’s racially motivated," said Vicente Reid, CEO of the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce.
Both Kuo and Reid remember being the targets of discrimination for being Asian American.
"I recall being called all kinds of racial slurs growing up," said Kuo.
"I remember, probably around six, traveling with my white grandma in Arizona and walking into a shop and the shop owner looking at me, a six-year-old kid, and saying ‘Your kind is not allowed in here,'" said Reid.
According to a study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernadino, hate crimes against Asian Americans increased 149% in 2020.
Locally, Reid said business at Asian-owned businesses decreased by 90% in 2020.
"I would say it’s a mix of both: of covid and racial bias," said Reid.
On Friday, a vigil will be held in honor of the Atlanta shooting victims at the Arizona State Capitol building, beginning at 6:30 p.m.