December 8, 2022

Koreans Unite Nationally and Globally to Mourn for the Victims

ATLANTA (March 26, 2021) — Leaders of the Korean American community across the country are uniting to organize a Worldwide Vigil taking place at at 7:30 p.m. (ET), Friday, March 26 to remember the victims of the Atlanta shootings.

The one-hour vigil organized by the Korean American Association of Greater Atlanta will be held at 5900 Brook Hollow Parkway Norcross, Georgia, and will have a livestream at www.326vigil.org using hashtag #326Vigil.

Koreans across the United States and worldwide are uniting to mourn the loss of eight precious lives, four of whom were women of Korean descent. The Vigil (#StopAsianHate National Day of Action & Healing) is to unite as a community to pay respects to the deceased, to find community healing in the face of heightened discrimination that has traumatized the entire Asian American community, and to call for solidarity under a banner of anti-racism. 

“The mass shooting that happened last week shows how the Asian Americans are still seen as the ‘other’ despite the long history of immigrant history in the US. We hope that in addition to honoring the victims, the vigil provides an opportunity for all to come together and fight against racist rhetoric and attitude toward Asian Americans and prevent another senseless loss of lives,” said Jung Wook Lee, a KAC Metro Atlanta board member and KAC National vice chair.

The Atlanta shooting comes during a sharp spike in anti-Asian sentiment and hate crimes since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States last year. The research released by reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate revealed nearly 3,800 incidents against Asian Americans, 68% towards women, since March 19, 2020.

This vigil is part of numerous events taking place on March 26th, which has been promoted as the #StopAsianHate National Day of Action and Healing by Asian American Congressional leaders and civic organizations. March 26th is significant, as it is when the first U.S. law on naturalization, the Naturalization Act of 1790, was enacted to limit citizenship to only “free, White persons.” 

The intersectional program will include prayers by religious leaders: Imam Abdullah Jaber (CAIR-Georgia), Maya Snim (Jeondeungsa Temple), Reverend Mike Tai (4Points Church); poetry reading by Jessie Lian (pronounced “Lee-An”); singing by Adelaide Tai; and remarks by Community Leaders: Sarah Park (President, KAC Metro-Atlanta), Georgia Rep. Sam Park, Soyoung Yun, LPC, Martha Revelo, (Latinx community Outreach Director, Office of U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock), Julie Katz (Assistant Director of American Jewish Committee (AJC) Atlanta), and Nsé Ufot (Chief Executive Officer, New Georgia Project).

“This is not only a Georgia tragedy. This is not only an Asian tragedy. This is a tragedy against our human family. These were our aunties, our grandmas, our mothers, our sisters, our brothers. As a Korean American, I am calling on everyone to join hearts with our community in my home state of Georgia to honor these precious lives. Let’s come together as one to grieve and remember them,” said Grace Choi, one of the vigil organizers and former Stacey Abrams for Governor AAPI outreach director who has returned to her hometown of Atlanta to help the community in the aftermath of the shooting.

“While the entire nation is grieving, the Korean American community is especially shaken by our loss. I grew up in the heart of KoreaTown when the LA riots broke out and was traumatized as a kid. But I also saw our community coalesce and rise above the tragedy to become stronger as one. I am proud that Koreans all around the country and world are uniting to mourn and heal together. It’s also comforting and beautiful to receive overwhelming support from other communities. I see hope for humanity,” said Hannah Kim, one of the organizers, who served as former chief of staff and communications director to Congressman Charles Rangel of New York and as AAPI Communications Director during the Biden campaign.

Anti-racism is a goal that can only be achieved with the support of any and all communities that call this country home. Thus, we invite all communities, people, and allies to join us in solidarity, and to participate in the Virtual Vigil that will be livestreamed on www.326vigil.org, using hashtag #326Vigil. 

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