March 18, 2021
On March 16, an armed gunman killed eight people at multiple massage parlors and spas around Atlanta. While the motive is not fully clear, it is likely the suspect targeted women of Asian descent in a mass shooting spree.
According to police department crime data, hate crimes directed at the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have increased 150% in major U.S. cities. And since last March, there have been 3,800 reported incidents of hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans nationwide, many directed at Asian-American elders.
These horrific attacks are not isolated incidents. They flow from the same toxic pool of xenophobia, racism, and white supremacy that led to the hate-fueled murders in Charlottesville, Charleston, Pittsburgh, El Paso, and too many other communities.
The wrongful scapegoating of Asian-Americans during the pandemic has caused deep pain and anxiety among Asian-American communities, which includes Jewish Asian-Americans. We call on our leaders and members to speak out against all these forms of prejudice and provide shelter and resources for anyone threatened by hate and violence.
As we are taught in Leviticus 19:16, lo ta'amod al dam re'eikha, do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all members of the AAPI community, their families, friends, and loved ones. May the memories of those who were killed be a blessing, as we work together to end racism, hate, and violence.