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In Seattle, remembering the Atlanta spa shooting victims 1 year later

Atlanta spa shooting
Grace Madigan
An altar in memory of the eight victims in last year’s Atlanta shooting at Hing Hay Park in Seattle. A vigil was held on Wednesday.

It’s been one year since a gunman opened fire at a spa in Atlanta, killing eight people, including six Asian women. In Seattle, a vigil was held Wednesday to remember them at Seattle’s Hing Hay Park.

The crowd this year was much smaller than the hundreds who showed up last year. But the emotions were just as raw.

The Massage Parlor Outreach Program , also known as MPOP, organized the vigil. MPOP serves as a support network for massage and sex workers, providing resources and language help. The group got renewed attention after the Atlanta murders.

Lilian Liang started volunteering with the group a year ago, finding community with MPOP.

"I think one year later it’s still really jarring… to see it...violence, still happening," said Liang. "But this time around through organizing and through finding these people, I think I feel a lot more grounded. I appreciate these spaces exist."

J.M. Wong, a local activist with MPOP, read a tribute they wrote to one of the victims. "To Coco, Feng Daoyou, who crossed over on March 16, 2021. Our ancestor, who left home at a young age to work in the factories, and the nail salons, and the massage parlors. Who sent money back to build a home for your elders, one massage at a time. Who landed in New York, L.A., and then Atlanta. Whose body cannot return home. I remember you. We remember you."

Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun and Paul Andre Michels were also killed.

Halycon Brewing plans to host a fundraiser this Saturday to support the work M-Pop is doing to empower massage parlor and sex workers in the Seattle Chinatown-International District.

Grace Madigan is KNKX's former Arts & Culture reporter. Her stories focused on how people express themselves and connect to their communities through art, music, media, food, and sport.