Naomi Osaka has added her voice to calls to eradicate discrimination against Asians after a gunman killed eight people - six of Asian descent - in Georgia recently.
Taking to Twitter on Sunday, the Australian Open champion sent a powerful message to the world about Asian hate.
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“If people loved Asian people as much as they love bubble tea, anime, mochi, sushi, matcha etc … Imagine profiting/enjoying things that come from a culture and then attacking/diminishing the ethnic group that created it," she wrote.
Osaka added on Instagram: “#stopasianhate. It’s really sad that this even has to be a hashtag/slogan.
"It should be common sense but it seems like common sense is uncommon in this world now.”
Earlier on Sunday, members of Congress laid flowers at the three massage businesses in Georgia where a gunman killed eight people, six of them women of Asian descent.
They also demanded that prosecutors charge the suspect with a hate crime and the US Department of Justice take a leading role in the probe.
The congressional delegation was led by members of the Asian Pacific American Caucus, which said Asian Americans have faced increased hostility since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
New York Congresswoman Grace Meng said she wanted to honour the lives of the victims, particularly the Asian women, whose “stories and lives are just as American as anyone else.”
“For too long in this country, we have made invisible so much of the history and contributions of Asian Americans, specifically Asian American women in this country," she said.
The lawmakers spoke outside Gold Spa, one of the shooting sites, where the ground was covered with bouquets and tree branches that spelled out “Love.”
Signs read “Asian Women Are Sacred” and “Stop Asian Hate.”
They also held a news conference in an Atlanta suburb and met with the families of two of the victims, Xiaojie Tan and Young A. Yue, and local leaders of the Asian American community.
Robert Aaron Long, the 21-year-old white man facing murder charges in the attacks, has told police he had a “sex addiction.” Authorities have said he apparently lashed out at what he saw as sources of temptation.
Long told police the shootings were not racially motivated, but those statements have spurred widespread skepticism given the locations and that six of the eight victims were of Asian descent.
“It is clear that this was a deliberate journey,” said California Rep. Judy Chu, who chairs the Asian Pacific American Caucus.
"It is clear that you would not choose those three places unless you were targeting Asian women.”
Naomi Osaka advances to fourth round in Miami
Meanwhile, Osaka has advanced into the fourth round of the Miami Open by walkover after Serbian Nina Stojanovic withdrew due to a right thigh injury.
World No.2 Osaka, the reigning US and Australian Open champion, will next face Belgian 16th seed Elise Mertens.
"I'm sorry I can't continue my participation at the Miami Open due to my recent injury during my singles match," 95th-ranked qualifier Stojanovic said in a statement.
Osaka, who lifted her fourth grand slam title last month in Melbourne, is seeded second behind top-ranked Australian Ashleigh Barty.
As the defending champion from 2019, Barty will lose ground to Osaka in the rankings unless she wins the title again.
The 2020 Miami Open was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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