After shootings at three spas in the Atlanta area on Tuesday killed eight people, including six Asian-American women, resolutions condemning racism and violence against Asian Americans were adopted in both the state House and Senate Thursday.
Robert Aaron Long was arrested and held without bond. He faces four counts of murder and a charge of aggravated assault, per the county Cherokee County Sheriff’s office. He also has been charged with more four counts of murder, the Atlanta Police Department said.
“To my fellow Asian American community members, I want to let you know that we see you, we feel your pain and your fear. We know that you feel worried about sending your kids to school with the potential for more bullying, or are worried about your elderly Asian parents becoming a target just for walking down the street or are fearful as Asian American women about what public spaces are unsafe for us,” Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) said during a tearful floor speech Thursday. “It saddens me and angers me that we have to think about these things that we could be a target for no other reason than our race.”
Senate Resolution 30, introduced by Chang, and House Resolution 61, introduced by Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton), condemn the rise in hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and encourage Michiganders to report hate crimes and discrimination.
According to a recent report by Stop AAPI Hate, 3,795 hate-driven incidents, including physical assault, verbal harassment, workplace discrimination, refusal of service, online harassment and shunning, have been reported between March 19, 2020 and February 28 nationwide, including 16 incidents in Michigan.
The report also stated that 30% of all AAPIs have reported being subjected to racist and hateful acts of discrimination or violence since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former President Donald Trump repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese-flu” over the last year and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) has also called the virus the “China flu.”
On Monday, Shirkey doubled down on his comments when JTV host Bart Hawley asked if he regretted saying it.
“Not at all. Nope. It’s where it came from,” Shirkey said.
On Twitter Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that “when leaders refer to COVID-19 as ‘Chinese flu’ or ‘China virus’ they perpetuate bigotry and xenophobia, feeding the incidents we have seen.”