As Atlanta killings face probe, Solomon, Lavarro propose measure condemning hate against Asians

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Following a tragedy in Atlanta, Georgia where eight women were killed, where six victims were of Asian descent, Jersey City Councilmen James Solomon and Rolando Lavarro will introduce a resolution next week condemning hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The resolution was submitted for the city council agenda on prior to the Atlanta slayings, according to the councilmen. Multiple reports indicate that the killings occurred in three separate shootings at massage spas on Tuesday evening.

A suspect, Robert Aaron Long, 21, was arrested several hours after the shootings, who allegedly blamed the incident on “a sex addiction,” not racial bias, Atlanta-based outlet 11 Alive reported.

“My heart, prayers and tears are with Georgians as they cope with this horrific tragedy, especially Atlanta’s Asian community,” Lavarro said in a joint statement.

“As an Asian American, I share the fear, anxiety, and anger that Asians all over the country are feeling in the wake of this massacre, and raise my fist in rage and solidarity with you.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in America, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been victims of racist harassment and attacks; and Asian-owned businesses have seen a dramatic decline in revenue and patronage.

Stop AAPI Hate was created in part to create a database of such reports. As of February 28th, the group has documented 3,795 reports of racist incidents against AAPIs, which includes 503 incidents in 2021.

“Jersey City is not immune from the rising tide of hatred directed at our Asian American and Pacific Islander neighbors. Our message to them is clear: we stand with you. We condemn this bigotry. We will utilize every resource at our disposal to protect you and your families,” added Solomon.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jay Baker said at a press conference this afternoon that Long may have frequented some of the spas, also stating he was “fed up and at the end of his rope and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.”

The Jersey City Council’s next meeting is set for March 24th at 6 p.m. and will convene via Microsoft Teams.