Democrats condemned hate against Asian Americans on Wednesday after a deadly shooting in Atlanta.
"We stand with you," Vice President Kamala Harris told the US's Asian American community.
Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed at three massage parlors on Tuesday.
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Several high-profile Democrats on Wednesday condemned hatred and violence against the Asian American community after a deadly shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday left six women of Asian descent dead.
"I do want to say to our Asian American community that we stand with you, and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people," Vice President Kamala Harris said. "But, knowing the increasing level of hate crime against our Asian American brothers and sisters, we also want to speak out in solidarity with them and acknowledge that none of us should ever be silent in the face of any form of hate."
Law enforcement officials are currently investigating the motive behind the Atlanta shootings that took place at three massage parlors and killed eight people, including six Asian women. The suspect, 21-year-old Aaron Robert Long, a white man, has been arrested. Police say Long told them that he had been to the massage parlors before in relation to a self-described "sexual addiction" and was "attempting to take out that temptation" on Tuesday.
Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia offered their condolences to the families of the victims and called out hate against Asian Americans.
"My heart is broken tonight after the tragic violence in Atlanta that took eight lives," Warnock tweeted. "Once again we see that hate is deadly. Praying for the families of the victims and for peace for the community."
Ossoff similarly said he was "heartbroken" for the victims and expressed his "love and support" for the Asian American community.
Attacks on Asian Americans have increased during the coronavirus pandemic, as many politicians, including former President Donald Trump, blamed China for the outbreak. Some experts say the racist rhetoric has fueled the rise in violence against the community.
Many lawmakers on Wednesday also blamed Trump's use of the terms "Chinese virus" and "Kung flu" to describe COVID-19 for the mounting vitriol against Asian Americans, and urged for an end to the xenophobic language.
"One year ago, we had a former President and White House officials inflaming hate against Asian Americans," Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California tweeted Wednesday. "Some elected officials continue to use ethnic identifiers in describing the virus, which adds fuel to the hate. If you are one of those officials, please stop."
President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the attacks against Asian Americans "troublesome" but said he's waiting for further details about the shooting. Last week, Biden denounced anti-Asian attacks and called them "un-American" during his first primetime address to the nation.
The Biden administration has previously pledged to address the issue by working with local agencies to improve data on hate crimes and enforce policies to prevent such incidents.
South Korea's foreign ministry told NBC News that four of the women who died on Tuesday were ethnically Korean, though their nationalities have not yet been confirmed. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is in South Korea on a diplomatic trip, said he's "horrified" by the shootings in Atlanta.
"We will stand up for the right of our fellow Americans, Korean Americans, to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect," he said.
The nonprofit organization, Stop AAPI Hate, on Tuesday reported that Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the US have faced nearly 3,800 incidents of verbal and online harassment, shunning, physical assault, and civil rights violations since March 2020.
That number likely represents just a fraction of the hate crimes committed against the community over the past year, Russell Jeung, an Asian American studies professor at San Francisco State University and a cofounder of Stop AAPI Hate, previously told Insider.