SEATTLE - While police have not said if the Atlanta shooter was specifically targeting Asian-Americans, with six of the victims being Asian women, the shooting is traumatizing for many communities already on edge.
Local activists and community members in Seattle’s Chinatown-International district have dealt with in an increase in Asian-American hate crimes since the pandemic started. News of Tuesday’s shootings in Atlanta adds to the devastation.
"It makes me really angry, mad and sad and all these complex emotions all at once after everything that’s been going on these last couple weeks," says Tanya Woo.
Woo is a member of Chinatown International District’s community watch group. She says the area has spas similar to those targeted in Atlanta.
"To hear that something like this could be possible to businesses in our community is just so scary and I cannot imagine how people feel about that who actually work in that business."
Woo says it’s not lost on her that the shooter targeted businesses where employees are predominately Asian women.
"Maybe this won't be classified as a hate crime, but I feel he was targeting Asian women based on what is in the news, and that really fills me with anger and sadness."
With more local rallies planned this week to bring awareness of the racism and violence so many Asian-Americans deal with every day, Woo says she hopes this tragedy can help spark important and long overdue dialogue.
"I heard there was a woman who came to our rally today in Newcastle and she said she’s been sad all morning but she needed to do something about it and that’s why she came."
"These types of crimes are not limited just to the people directly affected by it," says Seattle Police Detective Patrick Michaud.
Today the Seattle Police Department says their biggest concern is people in the Chinatown-International District feeling unsafe.
They say they’ve began sending community police officers to interact with business owners and residents to ask what they can do as a department to make them feel more comfortable in their neighborhood.
"When someone gets assaulted there's a physical injury, but that heals. Injuries of a biased crime can be lifelong."
There are several more rallies scheduled this week aimed to fight racism against Asian Americans. Local organizations are also holding a virtual vigil on Saturday for the victims of the Atlanta shooting.
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