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Asian American Community Shocked After Two Mass Shootings

Gunshots and bullets on the ground with a do not cross sign.

Two recent shootings in California have stunned the Asian American community.

On Jan. 21, a 72-year-old gunman opened fire at a dance studio in Monterey Park, Calif., killing 11 people and injuring nine more as the city's large Asian American community was celebrating Lunar New Year weekend.

The suspect, a man of Asian descent, was found dead the next day of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Law enforcement is still investigating the shooter's motive.

"It is horrible that such a thing could occur at a time of celebration for so many in the AAPI community and in the Asian community worldwide," said Rep. Judy Chu, of California, during a Jan. 22 news conference.

On Jan. 23, another gunman opened fire at two separate businesses in Half Moon Bay, Calif., killing seven and leaving one person critically wounded. At least one victim was of Chinese descent. The suspect, an Asian man who turned himself into police, was described by police as a disgruntled employee who worked at one of the businesses.

Neither incident has proved to be racially charged.

A rise in violence against Asian American individuals has occurred since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some events taking place in workplace settings. In 2021, President Joe Biden announced actions to curb anti-Asian violence and signed into law a measure aiming to reduce hate crimes.

Asian American workers also often face discrimination and other challenges in the workplace, which can affect their personal and professional well-being.

SHRM Online has gathered additional news on this topic.

Asian Community Reeling After Lunar New Year Shooting

The Monterey Park shooting sent shock waves through Asian American communities around the nation, prompting police from San Francisco to New York to step up patrols at Lunar New Year celebrations in their own cities. Asian American advocacy groups said it was another blow after years of high-profile anti-Asian violence around the country.

(Associated Press)

Asian Americans Face Violence, Workplace Discrimination

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, discrimination against Asian Americans rose. From 2019 to 2020, anti-Asian hate crimes rose by nearly 150 percent in 16 of the largest cities in the U.S. Many of these incidents happened in the workplace.

(SHRM Online)

About a Third of Asian Americans Say They Have Changed Their Daily Routine Due to Concerns Over Threats, Attacks

Most Asian American adults say violence against them is increasing, according to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey. One in 5 respondents worry daily or almost daily of threats or attacks because of their race or ethnicity.

(Pew Research Center)

SHRM Resource Hub Page
Workplace Violence

Training Aims to Prevent Workplace Shootings

Mass shootings have become more common across the country in recent years, making it even more critical for employers to ensure that their workplaces are safe and that workers understand how to handle active shooter scenarios.

(SHRM Online)

Tips for Helping Asian American Workers Progress Professionally

Joy Chen, former deputy mayor of Los Angeles and now the CEO of the Multicultural Leadership Institute in Los Angeles, said HR professionals can help Asian American workers rise through the leadership ranks by recognizing and fighting against biased perceptions.

(SHRM Online)


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