ST. PAUL — Minnesota leaders are speaking out against hate and violence toward Asian-Americans in the wake of a string of shootings in Atlanta which left eight victims dead.

Six of the victims were of Asian descent, and all but one were women.

The Tuesday, March 16, shootings come amid a spike in reports of racist violence against Asian people in the U.S. Nearly 3,800 hate incidents against Asian-Americans, ranging from verbal harassment to physical assault, were reported to the organization Stop AAPI Hate.

Sia Her, executive director of the Minnesota Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, said in a Wednesday, March 17, statement that the shootings are “a reminder of the imperative to face racism and misogyny, evils that too often become the basis for violence.”

“It is also impossible not to recognize that this incident happened at a time of increased public displays of anti-Asian American bias, discrimination, and hate,” she said. “Acknowledging the context of this crime is crucial for processing it.”

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On Wednesday, both the Minnesota House and Senate observed a moment of silence to recognize the victims, as well as all acts of racism against Asian-Americans.

“Asian Minnesotans have felt this increase in hatred as well,” the Minnesota Asian Pacific Caucus said in a statement. “We experience hate in many forms every day, leaving us with the fear of, ‘will our community be next?’”

Both the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Republican parties released statements to condemn violence against Asian-Americans, as well.

DFL Chairman Ken Martin called on political leaders to stop “bigoted dog-whistling,” particularly in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said “helps inspire” racist attacks. GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said the attack was “abhorrent” and impacts not just the families of the victims, but the Asian Pacific American community, as a whole.

“Violence toward anybody because of their outward appearance is despicable and must be broadly condemned,” she said.

Minnesotans who witness or experience discrimination can report an incident with the state Dept. of Human Rights by calling 1-833-454-0148 or visiting https://mn.gov/mdhr/.

Contact Sarah Mearhoff at smearhoff@forumcomm.com or 610-790-4992.