Atlanta shootings: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris denounce “complicit silence” in the face of anti-Asian racism

Biden and Harris were visiting Atlanta, 48 hours after the triple shooting that killed 8, including six women of Asian descent.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris spoke with one voice. The American president and the vice-president called Friday from Atlanta to the mobilization vis-a-vis the violence to which Americans of Asian origin are victims , stressing that many of them now live in “fear” . This presidential visit to this large southern city was initially intended to be devoted exclusively to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the shootings which resulted in the deaths of six women of Asian origin on Monday were a game-changer.

“Regardless of (the shooter’s) motives, we know the following: Asian Americans are worried and, for the past year or so, have woken up every morning feeling their safety and that of their families. relatives were at stake, ”said Joe Biden, his face serious.

“Words are important”, he hammered, in a thinly veiled allusion to his predecessor Donald Trump, accused of having encouraged amalgamations by repeatedly calling SARS-Cov-2 a “Chinese virus” “. “It’s the coronavirus, period! », He hammered after meeting, with Vice-President Kamala Harris, representatives of the Asian community. “Our silence is a form of complicity,” he added from Emory University, denouncing “the horrible poison of racism”.

Flags half mast

While calling on Congress to legislate, he insisted on the importance of real awareness. “If the laws can make it better, we need to change our hearts. Hatred has no place in America ”.

The Democratic president has ordered the flags to be half-masted until Monday in honor of the eight people shot dead on Tuesday night by a 21-year-old white man. Arrested after opening fire in three Asian massage parlors in Atlanta and its suburbs, Robert Aaron Long admitted the facts and was charged with murder. During his interrogation, he denied any racist motive, presenting himself as a “sex addict” eager to suppress “a temptation”. “His motives are still under investigation but he does not appear to have been motivated by racism,” FBI Director Chris Wray said in an interview with NPR Radio.

“White supremacism is killing us”

The deeply shaken Asian Americans have no doubts: the shootings are part of a surge in hostility against them since the start of the pandemic. “White supremacism is really killing us,” Stephanie Cho, of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice organization in Atlanta, told AFP.

The Stop AAPI Hate association has been informed of more than 3,800 threats and assaults against Asian Americans in the past year. “We should consider that these are racist crimes because we know that this is the case,” said during a meeting, the candidate for mayor of New York and former contender for the Democratic primary , Andrew Yang.

The entrepreneur said he grew up “with a constant feeling of invisibility, mockery, contempt” but, he added the trembling voice, this hostility has “transformed in a deadly, virulent, hateful way”. To respond to the concerns of this minority, several large cities, from Chicago to Los Angeles, have already committed to strengthening the police presence in the neighborhoods where they live.

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