For Immediate Release
March 12, 2022
On a cold afternoon in Horner Park, the collective heart of the Asian American Chicagoland community was beating together – we gathered to remember the six Asian women whose lives were lost on March 16, 2021 in Atlanta. Approximately 100 people came together to remember the victims, honor their memories, and share a moment of quiet reflection with community. More than passing grief or a moment in the news cycle, the event commemorated those womens’ lives, ensuring their story continues to be told.
The program for the remembrance event was led by Asian American youth affiliated with HANA Center, KAN-WIN, and Advancing Justice | Chicago. Moving statements, poetry, and music lifted the commemoration of the one year anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings.
Reverend Asayo Horibe from the Buddhist Temple of Chicago and Angelynn Jimenez from Women That Fight, a youth leadership program at HANA Center, began the event with a spiritual offering and an original poetry reading.
Next, youth leaders from KAN-WIN shared a joint youth statement from the three co-sponsoring organizations. Joie Cabrera and Emily Lim gave a rousing call that today and always, we fight not just for the Asian American community, but all marginalized communities.
Emily shared, “we grieve the passings of each victim while finding ways to support one another with compassion and warmth. Personally, for me as a Korean-American teenager, it brings me great sadness that people of my Korean ethnicity were killed in this event. I feel a heavy emotional connection to them through our shared Korean heritage and culture. Their pain is forever my pain as I cherish their memories and lives while I mourn upon their passings.” Reminiscing back, Joie shared, ”that night we all shared complex feelings; leaving our community, our people, in shock and fear. We cannot let this event become minimized and brushed off as something not worth hearing about. Forever and always remember March 16, 2021.”
Closing the event, Joy Messinger read an original poem and Chumi Park shared a musical performance or Arirang, a Korean folk song. During her performance, guests were invited to pay respects at the community altar.
We thank our partners and co-sponsors: HANA Center, KAN-WIN, Apna Ghar, Asian American Midwest Progressives, Healing to Action, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, HEART Women & Girls, Japanese American Citizens League, Chinese American Service League, and South Asian American Policy and Research Institute. We also want to recognize the youth leaders at KAN-WIN, HANA Center, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice who have helped organize today’s vigil.
Photo Credit: Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at www.advancingjustice-chicago.org.
HANA Center is a Chicago-area community-based organization working to meet the critical needs of Korean, Asian American, and multiethnic immigrant communities and build power toward systemic change. HANA Center has offices in Chicago and Prospect Heights, Illinois, and is a local affiliate of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC). Learn more at hanacenter.org.
KAN-WIN’S mission is to eradicate gender-based violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, especially for women and children across Asian American communities and beyond through culturally competent services, community engagement, and advocacy. Learn more at www.kanwin.org.