In the several days since a young white man shot and killed eight people—six of them women of Asian descent—at three sites near Atlanta, Georgia, vigils and other demonstrations of sadness, solidarity, frustration, and anger over racist violence and micro-aggressions targeting the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have mushroomed across the U.S.
The chart below shows daily counts of events against anti-Asian racist violence that the Crowd Counting Consortium has recorded so far. Since the Atlanta-area murders, we have logged 126 events focused on this issue, most of them this past Saturday and Sunday, March 20–21. At least three of those events—in Atlanta on Saturday and in New York City and San Jose, California, on Sunday—drew crowds of more than 1,000.
As that chart implies, collective action over this issue did not suddenly erupt in the past several days. On August 1, 2020, hundreds gathered in Brooklyn to march in protest against a violent attack on an 89-year-old Asian woman, and against the decision by the police not to classify the attack as a hate crime. And, as we noted in our recent blogged monthly report, protests centered on this issue accelerated in February, accounting for some of the largest crowds we saw in the U.S. that month.
What was especially remarkable about this past weekend’s wave of events on this theme was its geographic breadth. Much like the George Floyd uprising, activism aiming to #StopAsianHate has diffused widely and quickly in the wake of the Atlanta killings. As the map below shows, while recent actions against anti-Asian racist violence have been concentrated in major urban areas on the East and West Coasts, similar events occurred all across the country, reaching places like Norman, OK; Des Moines and Iowa City, IA; Birmingham, AL; and Conshohocken, PA, a town of about 8,000 residents, of whom 90 percent are white and less that 1 percent are of Asian descent. In all, we have counted 92 unique U.S. cities and towns with events centered in this issue in the past five days alone.
Finally, while most the vast majority of these events have stuck to the broad theme of #StopAsianHate, some have explicitly called out the intersection of anti-Asian racism with other themes and identities, especially other forms of racism, sexism, policing, and the decriminalization of sex work. In Washington, DC, for example, the group Total Liberation Collective quickly organized a vigil and march on Wednesday, March 17, in response to the Atlanta killings that emphasized solidarity against white supremacy and colonialism and distrust of police. At a Saturday-evening vigil in Alhambra, California, one speaker drew cheers from the crowd when she instructed police on the scene to leave, saying, “Our community does not welcome you.” And at a Saturday press conference and rally in Fullerton, California, speakers called out racism in many forms along with the “racialized misogyny and hypersexualization of Asian women.”
This is, of course, a developing story. We expect to record more events on this theme as they occur, and as news stories and social media posts describing additional events from the past several days continue to surface. Meanwhile, you can find and browse Google Sheets with the Crowd Counting Consortium’s ongoing monthly logs of events on our data page, and you can find a compiled and augmented version of the entire CCC dataset, updated weekly, in the Nonviolent Action Lab‘s GitHub repository.
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