‘Unspeakable tragedy after a year of unfathomable cruelty’: Sen Duckworth responds to Atlanta killings

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ST. LOUIS — Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, the first Asian-American member of the state’s congressional delegation, testified Thursday during a House Judiciary subcommittee on violence directed at the Asian-American community.

The hearing was meant to confront the rise in anti-Asian-American attacks in the year since the coronavirus pandemic and came just days after 8 people, including six Asian-American women, were murdered at spas in Atlanta. Authorities are still investigating if the attacks at spas there are actual hate crimes.

In her testimony, Duckworth called the murders “an unspeakable tragedy after a year of unfathomable cruelty.”

Duckworth recounted news reports from around the country where members of the Asian-American community have been targets of violence.

“Families have had rocks thrown at them… nurses have been spit on… heroes, frontline
workers, hospital staff have been blamed for COVID-19… They’ve been denied
service and treated as other-than… as less-than… simply because they are members of
the AAPI community,” she said.

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (R-New York) said in a press release about the hearing that in 2020, three thousand eight hundred incidents of hate crimes against Asian-Americans were reported, with about sixty eight percent of Asian Americans reporting that they have experienced racial slurs or verbal harassment since the pandemic began. 

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