Activists across US honor victims of Atlanta spa shooting

Activists across US honor victims of Atlanta spa shootings

The activists push for action against hate, violence, racism and discrimination
/ 11:38 PM April 20, 2024

Anti Asian hate

Hudson Liao (center), founder and executive director of Asians are Strong, and representatives of various Asian American groups, push for action against hate and racism. CONTRIBUTED

SAN FRANCISCO – Hundreds of Asian Americans from across the nation recently came together in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York City to commemorate the third anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings, where eight people, including six Asian women, were murdered.

They honored the lives lost and pushed for action against hate, violence, racism and discrimination.

With the theme, “Stand Together: Remembering 3/16,” the events featured Asian American leaders, activists, artists and community members addressing anti-Asian hate, voter engagement, multiracial solidarity and mental health.

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”Unity is our strongest response to racism, hate and violence,” said Justin Zhu, co-founder of Stand with Asian Americans, lead organizer of the events in San Francisco and New York City.

“The anniversary of the Atlanta Spa shootings is a significant day for Asian American communities, honoring the lives lost and showing the power of our communities by standing together.”

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 58 percent of Asian Americans report experiencing racial discrimination.


The national commemoration of the Atlanta spa shootings represents how Asian American communities are committed to turning shared experiences and trauma into power, organizers said.

Anti-Asian hate

Amihan represented Filipino Americans at the San Francisco event.. CONTRIBUTED

The San Francisco event, held at Hotel Kabuki in Japantown, featured musical performances and speakers assailing workplace discrimination and anti-Asian hate, and advocating for mental health support.

Speakers included Hudson Liao, founder of the group called Asians Are Strong; Helen Zia, journalist, activist and founder of Vincent Chin Institute; Jennifer S. Cheng, poet and essayist; Justin Zhu, co-founder of Stand with Asian Americans and Filipina musician and spoken word artist Amihan, who represented Filipino Americans at the event.


Liao announced their demand for justice in the 2023 death of 63-year-old Yanfang Wu.

Wu, allegedly a victim of anti-Asian hate, died after being knocked to the ground near a bus stop in San Francisco’s Bayview District. The police initially said it was an accident but recently announced it will reopen the case.


“I want to echo the demand (for justice) for Ms. Wu, a recent victim of Asian hate,” Amihan said. “Why is the City of San Francisco, through Mayor London’s Breed budget, putting up a million dollars (for) the police and sheriff’s office while basic services are being defunded, the basic services that are the very means of our community to be safe?”

“I am a daughter of migrants from the Philippines. My mother and father were born and raised here in San Francisco and I want to share with you my family’s history that hopefully will relate to all other families,” Amihan said. “I want to sing for all the mothers, daughters, sisters and grandmothers we lost in that shooting three years ago in Atlanta.”

Anti-Asian hate

Amihan is a musician and producer who grew up in the Mission, SOMA and Excelsior districts of San Francisco. She dedicates her music and live performances to raising awareness of issues impacting Filipinos in the Bay Area and in the homeland, as well as raising funds for Filipino communities.

Amihan’s lyrics speak to themes of gentrification, past and present histories of colonization and legacies of resistance. Both her music and her work with the youth organization Anakbayan Davis have connected local struggles for social justice to the movement for national sovereignty in the Philippines.

Justice for Yanfang Wu

Liao revealed that the suspect in the murder of Yanfang Wu recently attacked another elderly Asian, a 71-year-old Chinese woman who ended up in the hospital.

“Our people should be able to walk the streets of San Francisco in peace. Our Asian seniors should not worry being killed on accident or being murdered by someone having a bad day,” Liao said.

“Ms. Wu’s husband never believed it was an accident. He was only a block away when he saw his wife being shoved to the ground.”

Liao said the San Francisco Police Department should release the video of the attack on Wu.

“We want to know why you concluded that this was an accident when the husband of the deceased, an eyewitness, said it was not,” he said.

“We will no longer let you ignore us and our demands for change. You have been stalling anti-Asian hate cases long enough and we know your tactics. We know what you are trying to do, trying to drag these cases out as long as possible hoping we will forget and the public pressure will die down.”

Liao also called on elected city officials to step up and support their demand for justice.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who came to the event with San Francisco Police Chief William Scott, said she was impressed by the way the activists were dealing with the challenges, “making sure that there are open lines of communication.”

“My goal is to work with the community in any way that could be helpful and to help make sure that people are safe and supported,” she added.

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