K-pop band BTS said in a statement Tuesday they feel "grief and anger" following recent deadly attacks on Asian Americans. The band, which is from Korea, offered their "deepest condolences" to people who lost their lives. The also opened up about the anti-Asian racism they have experienced.
"We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians," the seven-member band said in the statement. "We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke English."
"We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason," they said. "Our own experiences are inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks. But these experiences were enough to make us feel powerless and chip away at our self esteem."
Earlier this month, six women of Asian decent were among eight people killed when a gunman opened fire at three spas in the Atlanta area. The shooting suspect, who has charged with eight counts of murder, denied the attack was racially motivated but officials said it was still too early to rule out a hate crime.
According to a new report released by Stop AAPI Hate, Asian Americans were subjected to nearly 3,800 hate incidents over the last year.
In the statement, BTS said, they took time to discuss how to voice their message following the uptick in anti-Asian hate. "But what our voice must convey is clear," they said.
"We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I, and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together," the group said.
Last week, advocates held a "National Day of Action and Healing" to protest anti-Asian violence following the March 16 mass shooting in Atlanta. Demonstrations across the country continued over the weekend to raise awareness about racial discrimination that Asian Americans have experienced for decades.
BTS shared their statement, which was written in both Korean and English, with the hashtag #StopAsianHate, which social media users have included on posts about recent attacks on the AAPI community.