'Proud to be Asian': Sandra Oh leads anti-racism rally in Pittsburgh

‘I am proud to be Asian’: Sandra Oh gives rousing speech in Pittsburgh as cities nationwide hold protests against racism in wake of Tuesday’s mass shooting in Atlanta

  • Grey’s Anatomy actor Sandra Oh, 49, spoke at anti-racism rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Saturday 
  • Oh, a Canadian-American whose parents immigrated from South Korea, said she is ‘proud to be Asian’
  • Several demonstrations were held nationwide to denounce anti-Asian hate in wake of Tuesday’s shootings 
  • Robert A. Long, 21, a white man, allegedly confessed to killing eight in Georgia, including six Asian women 
  • Long is said to have a sex addiction and took out his rage against massage parlor in and around Atlanta 
  • Investigators have yet to pinpoint motive and as of Sunday have not stated that they believe it was hate crime 

Actress Sandra Oh told a Pittsburgh rally on Saturday that she is ‘proud to be Asian’ and urged others to ‘stand together’ against racism in the wake of Tuesday’s mass shooting in Atlanta that claimed the lives of eight people.

Six of the eight people who were fatally gunned down at massage parlors in Atlanta and Cherokee County, Georgia were women of Asian descent. One person who was shot survived.

The alleged gunman, a 21-year-old white man identified as Robert Aaron Long, is said to have confessed to the shootings though authorities have yet to firmly establish a motive.

Grey’s Anatomy actress Sandra Oh (above) gave a rousing two-minute speech at an anti-hate rally in Pittsburgh on Saturday

The rally was one of several nationwide over the weekend denouncing anti-Asian racism following Tuesday’s mass shootings in and around Atlanta that left eight people –  six of them women of Asian descent – dead. The image above shows a rally at McPherson Square in Washington, DC on Sunday

Members and supporters of the Asian-American community attend a ‘rally against hate’ at McPherson Square in Washington, DC

New York City mayoral hopeful and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang is seen above speaking at a rally against hate and racism at Columbus Park in the Chinatown section of Manhattan on Sunday

Long claimed that he has a sex addiction which drove him to target the two massage parlors since he viewed them as fueling his affliction, according to investigators. So far, authorities have said that the shootings were not a hate crime.

‘Pittsburgh, I am so happy and proud to be here with you, and thank you to all the organizers for organizing this just to give us an opportunity to be together and to stand together and to feel each other,’ the 49-year-old Grey’s Anatomy star told rallygoers in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Oh’s speech was first reported by TribLIVE. 

‘For many of us in our community, this is the first time we are even able to voice our fear and our anger, and I really am so grateful to everyone willing to listen.’

Oh, the Golden Globe Award-winning star of Killing Eve, is in Pittsburgh filming a new Netflix series The Chair.

Rallygoers hold up signs denouncing anti-Asian racism at a demonstration in the Chinatown section of New York City on Sunday

Demonstrators in New York City gathered on Sunday to protest Tuesday’s slaughter of six women of Asian descent in the Atlanta area by a white gunman

A man attending a rally in the Chinatown section of New York City holds up a sign that reads ‘Stop Asian hate’ on Sunday

A young girl in the Chinatown section of New York City holds up a sign that reads ‘Hate = a virus’ on Sunday

She gave a rousing two-minute speech on Saturday in which she led the audience in a chant of ‘I am proud to be Asian.’

‘I know many of us in our community are very scared and I understand that,’ Oh said.

‘And one way to get through our fear is to reach out to our communities. I will challenge everyone here, if you see something will you help me?’

Earlier this week, Oh, who was born in Canada to parents who emigrated from South Korea, reacted to the Atlanta massacre by posting a heartfelt message on social media.

‘I send loving kindness and support to the families of the eight souls murdered in Georgia on March 16,’ she wrote.

‘And to all the victims of racist violence. I am devastated and profoundly angry. I know many of you are scared but let us not be afraid.’

‘Remember #itsanhonorjusttobeasian.’

The demonstration in Pittsburgh was one of many rallies nationwide on Saturday which were staged to denounce anti-Asian racism.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last year, Asians in the United States have increasingly been victims of racist attacks.

A diverse crowd gathered on Saturday near the Georgia State Capitol to demand justice for the victims of recent shootings at massage businesses and to denounce racism, xenophobia and misogyny.

Hundreds of people of all ages and varied racial and ethnic backgrounds gathered in Liberty Plaza in Atlanta, and in similar rallies across the country, waving signs and chanting slogans.

In Atlanta, they cheered Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, and Georgia state Representatives Bee Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American to serve in the Georgia House.

Demonstrators are seen above attending a rally on Sunday in Washington, DC in the aftermath of Tuesday’s massacre in and around Atlanta

Rallygoers are seen above in Washington, DC on Sunday to protest the mass shooting in and around Atlanta on Tuesday

Canadian protesters rally against anti-Asian racism in Montreal on Sunday in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting in and around Atlanta

Demonstrators march and brandish signs during Sunday’s protest in Montreal against anti-Asian racism

A demonstrator (left) in Montreal on Sunday holds up signs with the names of the victims of Tuesday’s massacre in and around Atlanta

‘I just wanted to drop by to say to my Asian sisters and brothers, we see you, and, more importantly, we are going to stand with you,’ Warnock said to loud cheers as passing drivers honked car horns in support.

Georgia lawmakers last year passed a hate crimes law allowing additional penalties for certain offenses when motivated by a victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender or disability. 

A hate crime is not a standalone crime under Georgia law, but can be used to add time to a sentence of someone convicted of another crime.

‘No matter how you want to spin it, the facts remain the same. This was an attack on the Asian community,’ said Nguyen, an advocate for women and communities of color. 

She noted the shooter targeted businesses operated by women of Asian descent.

‘Let’s join hands with our ally community and demand justice for not only these victims but for all victims of white supremacy,’ she said.

A couple hundred people gathered in a separate Atlanta park and marched through the streets to join the larger rally, chanting ‘Stop Asian hate’ and ‘We are what America looks like.’

Frankie Laguna, 23, who grew up in Atlanta and now lives in Tennessee, was an organizer of that group. 

Scores of people attended a rally against anti-Asian racism in downtown Houston on Saturday

Sally Sha holds up a sign during a Stop Asian Hate rally at Discovery Green in downtown Houston on Saturday

Protesters in Houston on Saturday slammed the police handling of the investigation into Tuesday’s shootings in Georgia

Anti-racism protesters are seen above during a demonstration in Houston on Saturday

Young children of Asian descent hold up signs denouncing violence against elderly Asian-Americans during a rally in Houston on Saturday

Attendees close their eyes during a Stop Asian Hate rally at Discovery Green in downtown Houston on Saturday

Rallygoers in Houston hold up signs that read ‘Asian & proud’ and ‘No excuse for racism’ during a demonstration on Saturday

Protesters in Houston hold up signs on Saturday to denounce anti-Asian racism in the wake of Tuesday’s shootings in Atlanta

Hong Jiang kisses Annie Jiang in Houston on Saturday as people protest after the deadly shootings in Georgia and against violence targeting Asian people

A demonstrator holds a candle during a protest against anti-Asian racism in Houston on Saturday

She told the crowd she was the first person in her family born in the US after her mother arrived from Taiwan.

‘I’m sick of being belittled and hypersexualized and hated for who I am, for something I can’t change,’ she said as the group marched.

Bernard Dong, a 24-year-old student from China at Georgia Tech, said he came out to the protest for the rights not just for Asians but for all minorities. 

‘Many times Asian people are too silent, but times change,’ he said.

Dong said he was ‘angry and disgusted’ about the shootings, and the violence that persists in 2021 against Asians, minorities and women.

Otis Wilson, a 38-year-old photographer who’s black, said people need to pay attention to the discrimination those of Asian descent face. 

‘We went through this last year with the black community, and we’re not the only ones who go through this,’ he said.

Camden Hunt, a 28-year-old black woman, said she first got involved in activism in her native Baltimore. 

She attended protests over the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a broken neck in police custody in Baltimore in 2015. 

She moved to Atlanta four years ago and got involved in community organizing, last summer pulling together an event to support black women victimized by police violence.

Yune Kim, 10, sits and holds a flower during a vigil at a makeshift memorial outside the Gold Spa in Atlanta on Sunday

A woman prays on Sunday during a vigil at a makeshift memorial outside the Gold Spa following the deadly shootings in Atlanta

Police in Atlanta are still investigating the motive in connection with the fatal shooting of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, on Tuesday. People on Saturday embrace by a makeshift memorial outside the Gold Spa following the deadly shootings in Atlanta

Hunt joined Saturday’s rally to ‘show black and Asian solidarity,’ adding ‘I think it’s amazing. I look out and I see people of all shades and ages and backgrounds.’

Similar rallies were held from coast to coast. 

In San Francisco, hundreds gathered in Portsmouth Square, in the middle of Chinatown, to grieve the victims and to call for an end to racist and sexist violence against Asian Americans. 

The participants waved signs reading ‘stop Asian hate.’ 

In Chicago, about 300 people gathered and in New York City, hundreds marched from Times Square to Chinatown, news outlets reported.    

Atlanta gunman who killed eight people ‘was treated for sex and porn addiction at evangelical rehab’ located less than a mile from the first spa he opened fire in 

Robert Aaron Long, 21, was a patient at the evangelical HopeQuest center in Acworth – just down the road from Young’s Asian Massage Parlor, where he killed four people

The gunman who shot dead eight people at three Georgia spa facilities on Tuesday was reportedly treated for sex addiction at a rehab center less than a mile from where he began his rampage. 

Robert Aaron Long, 21, allegedly attended sessions at the evangelical HopeQuest center in Acworth – located just down the road from Young’s Asian Massage Parlor, where he killed four people. 

After shooting up that parlor, Long then drove 27 miles into Atlanta, where he killed four more people at two other spa facilities. 

The accused reportedly told police that his attacks were motivated by his sex and pornography addictions. 

Long, who grew up as a Southern Baptist, was treated at HopeQuest on two separate occasions, according to San Francisco Gate. 

He first entered treatment there in 2019, before returning the following year, his former roommate, Tyler Bayless, told the publication. 

Bayless claims Long blamed his troubles on pornography, and bought a flip phone that was not connected to the internet in a bid to avoid ‘temptation’. 

HopeQuest has ties to ‘several large evangelical churches in and around Atlanta’ and makes frequent references to God on its website. 

One statement on the site reads: ‘Although most men struggle with lustful thoughts, acting on those thoughts – whether through fantasy and masturbation, using pornography… is always hurtful to God’.

In addition to treating sex and pornography addiction, it has also reportedly offered ‘conversion therapy’ for those who are gay and bisexual. 

HopeQuests’s founder and creator, Roy Blankenship, advertises himself as ‘ex-gay’. He is not longer associated with the facility. 

The center’s current director of clinical programs, Wayne Carriker, also considers himself ‘ex-gay’.

The HopeQuest center is reported to have once offered ‘conversion therapy’ for gay and bisexual people 

It is unclear whether Long was an inpatient who stayed at the facility. It’s possible he may have simply attended sessions held during the day 

The rehab is set on several acres of wooded land, offering tranquil surrounds for those struggling with sex and porn addictions 

HopeQuest is located just down the road from Young’s Asian Massage Parlor, where Long killed four people on Tuesday 

Images exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com show blood staining the floor inside Young’s Asian Massage Parlor after the bodies had been removed 

Xiaojie Tan, 49, the owner of Young’s Asian Massage spa, was killed in the shootings

Yong Yue, 63, who is pictured with her two sons, was killed during the the shootings

Delaina Yaun (left), 34, was killed while inside Young’s Asian Massage Parlor. Paul Michel (right), 54, was an Army veteran who was installing a security system at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in Cherokee County when he was shot dead

It’s unclear when Young last visited HopeQuest, and it is not known whether he was an inpatient or an outpatient. The facility has refused to comment. 

 Long was in close proximity to the rehab facility when he killed four people at Young’s Massage Parlor on Tuesday. 

Prior to going inside the parlor, Long was seen on surveillance video sitting in his black Hyundai Tuscon for an hour and watching people enter the business. 

Long then reportedly spent 72 minutes inside the parlor, suggesting that he may have gotten a massage before opening fire. 

Photos obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com in the aftermath of the shooting show bloodstains on the floor inside the spa and sheets in disarray on massage tables. 

The victims of the Young’s Massage Parlor attack have been identified as  Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44. 

Long then drove almost 30 miles to Atlanta, where he entered Gold Massage Spa and killed three women. 

The deceased have been identified as Soon C. Park, 44; Hyun J. Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69, and 63-year-old Yong Yue. 

Long then went on the run and was driving to Florida to target porn-industry locations when he was arrested 150 miles south of Atlanta, police said. Officers rammed his Hyundai off the road to take him into custody where he is said to have confessed to the killings.

Police say they found Long thanks to help from his parents, who recognized him from surveillance footage posted by authorities and gave investigators his cellphone information.

Six of the eight victims were of Asian descent, prompting protests against racial violence across the country. 

Incidences of hate crimes against Asian-Americans have soared in the past year.       

This map shows the locations of the three shootings in the Atlanta area and the place where Long was ultimately arrested

Shooting victim Hyun Grant (left) came from South Korea with her two sons (pictured) and was raising them on her own

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