New York City

Hundreds Attend NYC Vigil Honoring Atlanta Victims, Denounce Anti-Asian Racism

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Hundreds of New Yorkers gathered Friday evening to mourn the eight lives lost in shootings targeting Asian-owned businesses in Atlanta and to call for an end to the hate and violence deployed against Asian-Americans.

New Yorkers laid candles for the victims of the Georgia spa shootings and stood side-by-side in saying enough is enough.

"We are standing together because we are sad, we are angry, we are exhausted from the rollercoaster of emotions we've all been dealing with," one of the vigil's speakers said.

Community leaders and lawmakers joined the hundreds at the evening vigil in Union Square, led by the Asian American Federation. Similar rallies are planned later in the weekend in Queens and Manhattan.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer were some of the many speakers at the evening vigil; mayoral candidate Andrew Yang was also in attendance.

"We know that violence and bigotry against one is violence and bigotry against all," Schumer said.

Photos: NY Vigil Honors Victims of Atlanta Spa Shootings

Nationwide outrage and demands for change have followed the Tuesday mass shooting that took eight lives, including six Asian women, at three spas in the Atlanta area.

In the past year there have been nearly 3,800 attacks on Asians in the U.S., that's according to Stop AAPI Hate. In New York City, the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force has investigated 10 cases of hate crimes against Asians since Jan. 1.

Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with Atlanta-area legislators and community leaders before speaking to the nation in a Friday evening address.

Biden called on all Americans to stand up to bigotry when they see it, adding: “Our silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit.”

“They’ve been attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed; they’ve been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed," Biden said of Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Saturday, Safe Walks has planned a march from Times Square to Chinatown at 3 p.m. in solidarity with the Asian-American community. Shortly after that, another candle light vigil is planned in Sunset Park for 4:30 p.m. and a solidarity rally is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in Flushing, Queens at Bowne Playground.

This week's deadly spa shootings and Congressional hearing have put a new focus on a recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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