6 months after deadly spa shootings, AAPI community honored by local leaders

Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Thursday marked six months since the deadly spa shootings shocked the metro Atlanta area. That horrific day continues to haunt the families who lost loved ones.

“As a family, we would always go out to eat sushi, so it’s kind of weird going back to that restaurant every now and then, because we did do a bi-weekly meal there with our mother,” said Randy Park, who lost his mother Hyun Jung Grant.

A total of eight people tragically lost their lives.

Robert Aaron Long has been convicted of four murders in Cherokee County. He is currently awaiting trial in Fulton County for the other four murders. He will also be one of the first charged under Georgia’s new hate crimes law.

The majority of those killed were of Asian descent. Members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community paid tribute to those lives lost on the six-month anniversary, while announcing new support systems.

“These murders shook our nation to the core,” said Bjay Pak, former U.S. Attorney and Asian American Crime Victims and Education Fund board member. “We want to take this time to pay our respects to the victims of the March 16 murders. And second, we also wanted to announce the official launch of the national Asian American Crime Victims and Education Funds and to introduce the national advisory board members.”

Money from the fund will go to aid any AAPI person who has been victimized, which board members say happens to often.

“At midnight I got a text from a reporter who told me about a neighbor who lives right next to me,” said Ron Kim, Asian American Crime Victims and Education Fund board member. “[He was] attacked, windshield broken, beat up, people calling him to go back to China.”

The victimization of the AAPI community has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new advisory board is hoping to raise one million dollars and has already been helped by Southern Company Gas.

They said, sadly, funds will continue to be needed for minorities if they are considered outsiders.

“So long as we as a community are perceived as being foreigners this is a threat to all of us,” said Angela Hsu, Asian American Crime Victims and Education Fund board member.

“This is partly because COVID was branded in some quarters as an Asian disease,” said David Lat, Asian American Crime Victims and Education Fund board member. “Which former President [Donald] Trump and others reinforced, referring to it as the Kung-Fu and Chinese virus.”