NEW YORK — Reps. Grace Meng of New York and Andy Kim of New Jersey were among those who visited Georgia Sunday to pay their respects to the victims of a mass shooting that killed eight people in Atlanta in mid-March.
Meng and Kim, both Democrats, visited with colleagues from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Meng is the First Vice Chair of the caucus. Meng laid flowers at the three different shooting sites, all massage parlors in the Atlanta area. They also met with family members of the victims and held a press conference and roundtable with local Asian American leaders.
Kim’s visit comes just a day after he tweeted out a thread discussing his struggle to talk about racism with his 5-year-old son, who’d experienced anti-Asian bullying for the first time.
“The past few hours have been about one thing: listening,” Kim wrote. “Listening to the hurt and pain. Listening to ideas to heal.”
This comes the same day yet another incident of anti-Asian bias was reported in New York City, as a man struck a woman after making derogatory statements in a subway station in Manhattan.
Prior to Sunday, there have been at least 27 additional anti-Asian incidents this year, including 12 assaults, compared with eight at the same time last year, according to Deputy Inspector Jessica Corey, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
Residents and activists have shown support for Asian communities and those affected by the violence at demonstrations across the city as well as in New Jersey. On Saturday, rallies will take place in Lower Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey.
The NYPD announced on Thursday it planned to increase outreach and patrols in Asian communities.
The department is sending undercover officers to neighborhoods with significant Asian populations in an attempt to prevent and disrupt attacks, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
The undercover officers are being trained and will be on patrol by the end of the weekend, Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said.
The NYPD started an Asian Hate Crime Task Force last year amid increasing attacks as the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States.
Former President Donald Trump repeatedly used xenophobic terms to refer to the virus that originated in China’s Wuhan province. Critics say the former president’s language stoked violence against Asian Americans and immigrants.