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Standing Up

I stand in solidarity with my Asian-American friends and all Asian Americans. Atlanta has a richly cultured Asian community. Buford Highway is six miles of some of the most exciting Asian eateries in the nation.

Of the three spas where Robert Aaron Long shot eight people to death, I live a couple of miles from the one on Piedmont, and I was in Acworth yesterday, which is home to another. While my intown neighborhood and the Cobb County suburb feel like worlds apart, they will be forever united in a horrific hate crime.

The news was a shock. And the escalating rates of violence against Asian-Americans is not new.

We cannot tolerate violence or discrimination of any kind. We must speak out. We must take action.

There's been extensive coverage of the shootings both locallyandnationally. The fact that the shooter blamed his crime on a sexual addiction - and denied a racial motivation - can't undo the fact that the majority of the victims were Asian. This horrible killing spree brings to fore, yet again, the deep and complicated issues of racism in America.

The shooter's claim that he suffered from sexual addiction cannot in any way condone these killings. But sexual addiction is real, and it is sadly not uncommon.

Over the past several days, there have been countless articles about sexual addiction. And, in fact, we happened to have the actress, director and author Brianne Davis on Helping Mamas' "Moms Helping Moms" just two days after the shooting. She's just released her book, "Secret Life of a Hollywood Sex & Love Addict," and she shared with us her own experience of sexual addiction eloquently and honestly. I'm not gonna lie -- we were a little nervous about how the conversation would go. But it was enlightening to hear about sexual addiction from a survivor. If you're interested, you can listen to this compelling conversation here.

Heading into Passover this Saturday, I'm reminded that as Jews were once enslaved in Egypt, there are still so many enslaved and discriminated against today. As we continue to be divided by our views on politics, Covid and even this horrific news story (Cherokee County Capt. Jay Baker described the shooter as having had a "really bad day..."), it's important to remember that no one is free from hate. If we don't speak out, who will?

The German-born Lutheran minister Martin Niemoller spoke this moving passage in speeches throughout the 1930s:

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me" We need to stand up and be counted. We need to speak out now.

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