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Morning Brief: A Vile Racist Attack, A Lawsuit Against The Sheriff’s Department, And A Whole New World At Disney

Fruit and vegetables sold on the street along Central Avenue. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 18.

On Tuesday night, a young, armed white man in Atlanta, Georgia drove to three spas and fatally shot eight people, six of whom were Asian women.

While investigators have not officially characterized the attacks as hate crimes, incidents targeting Asian Americans have been on the rise since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, fueled by racist rhetoric from local and national politicians.

"People feel like we have a target on our backs," Connie Chung Joe, chief executive officer at Asian Americans Advancing Justice L.A., told my colleague Josie Huang. "And now having this incredibly horrendous incident ... our communities are going to be shook to the core."

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As early as February of last year, at the outset of the pandemic, members of L.A.’s Asian community reported that children were being bullied at school, and that online racism was proliferating. Incidents increased so rapidly that activists affiliated with various nonprofits set up an online tracking tool in October called STOP AAPI HATE, which received more than 670 reports in its first week.

“With the spread of the contagion of the virus, we are also seeing the spread of the contagion of racism,” Manju Kulkarni, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, said at the time.

In the past few months, such racially motivated attacks seem to have become even more common. In February, an 84-year-old man of Thai descent was killed in San Francisco. In L.A., various assailants have beaten a 27-year-old Army veteran in Koreatown, a 51-year-old man waiting for a bus in Rosemead, and an elderly couple in Pasadena — an attack that turned fatal when the female victim later died from her injuries.

Residents of the San Gabriel Valley, which has a large Asian community, have reported feeling scared to walk outside alone.

"You never think it would happen to you or me," said Amy Lew, a 30-year resident of Temple City. “And it is happening so close to home."

At a rally over the weekend, activists and allies gathered to draw attention to the issue, and to protest what many view as a lack of sufficient response from the government. Bill Fujioka, the former CEO of L.A. County, noted that being vocal about the current wave of racism is crucial:

"Ignoring it, denying its existence, or refusing to speak up, is almost as bad as participating in this disgusting behavior.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

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What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go … Here’s What You’ll Be Able To Do At Disneyland

People visit Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California on July 9, 2020, the first day the outdoor shopping and dining complex opened to the public. (ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Disney announced plans to reopen both of its Southern California theme parks — you may know them as Disneyland and California Adventure — starting April 30, after the state issued revised reopening guidelines. Disney fans are about to experience a whole new world — albeit with limited capacity and health and safety restrictions.

You’ll be able to go on popular rides at both parks, although some are expected to remain closed due to current restrictions. Here’s what we know will be open.

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