One year ago today, a 22-year-old White man targeted Asian-owned massage parlors and blamed it on a sex addiction. He killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women. And many Asian American leaders spoke out, calling it a hate crime.
Robert Peterson lost his mom Yong Ae Yue.
"It definitely has been challenging. Again, it feels like yesterday. So, to see that this one-year anniversary is here, time flies a little bit, but it's been challenging in that we've been grieving together. We've been grieving as a community," says Peterson.
The Atlanta incident galvanized rallies and marches across the country.
“The reality is that this could have been me or my sister or my family," says Umi Akiyoshi.
And while others mention that Asian American and Pacific Islanders seem more vocal, perhaps it’s because the incident forced the country to listen.
Rose Nguyen, founder and head chef at Rose Ave Bakery, described it as "sickening, saddening, and then all of that turns into anger."
"I just started crying. I thought, I can't keep my parents safe. I can't keep my community safe, I'm scared," said Soo Han, deputy director of advocacy group Asian American Federation.
Stop AAPI Hate — the organization that has been tracking hate cases from the start of the pandemic — found from March 2020 to December 2021, nearly 11,000 incidents against AAPIs were reported on their site.
Since the shooting in Atlanta, Congress approved the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which directed the Department of Justice to speed up investigations. Yet, AAPI leaders and activists are still putting on the pressure, because anti-Asian incidents are still happening.