After six Asian women were among eight killed in a shooting at three spas in the Atlanta area on March 16, Red Canary Song, a grassroots collective of Asian sex workers, is demanding that the violence targeting massage workers garners more attention.
“This is horrific and is indicative of the violence that massage workers face daily,” Red Canary Song wrote in a statement on Twitter. “We are saddened and angered to learn of this, and we are sending our love to the workers in Atlanta.”
The police have arrested Robert Aaron Long, a 21-year-old white gunman, in connection to the shootings. The attacker told authorities he had a “sexual addiction” and set out to kill the individuals to stop his “temptation,” but many have stressed that the killings were representative of the larger wave of anti-Asian attacks that have been on the rise. Since the pandemic started, Asian-Americans have been hit with several xenophobic, racist, and violent attacks.
Even before COVID-19, Asian-Americans faced the brunt of xenophobic violence in the US, the group said. Additionally, the group tweeted that there is a long history of violence against Asian-American massage workers that often goes unnoticed.
“These deaths somehow mean more because of the rise in anti-Asian violence related to COVID-19,” Red Canary Song wrote in a Tweet. “But no mention of how they’re connected to the long policing of Asian sex work, which so many Asian-Americans and those speaking up against anti-Asian hate endorse.”
Since the shooting occurred, the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Unit said they are monitoring the incident and are deploying more police to Asian-American communities. However, Red Canary Song believes that ramping up the police presence is not the solution — and advocates say increased policing will have a negative impact on Asian-American communities.
“Police are arresting, deporting, and killing migrant Asian people,” Red Canary Song wrote in a Tweet, blasting the city’s decision to add more police. “Policing is an unacceptable remedy for migrant Asian communities. We knew this would happen and are still telling everyone more policing or any policing at all doesn’t keep people safe, ESPECIALLY Asian and migrant massage workers.”
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