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K-pop stars BTS condemn rise in anti-Asian violence, recall moments they faced discrimination

"We stand against racial discrimination," the group said in a statement posted on Twitter. "We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected."
BTS on \"Today\"
BTS on "TODAY" on Feb. 21, 2020.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

In a new statement posted on social media, members of the K-pop group BTS condemned the rise in anti-Asian violence and said that they've occasionally been made to feel "powerless" in the face of racial slurs.

"We stand against racial discrimination," the wildly popular Korean band said in the statement, which was shared on the group's Twitter page. "We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together."

BTS' remarks come two weeks after a gunman killed eight people at three Georgia spas. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent, including four Koreans. Advocates are pushing the Justice Department to pursue hate crime charges in the shootings.

Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by nearly 150 percent in 2020, mostly in New York and Los Angeles, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

"We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians," BTS said. "We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians speak English."

While expressing its "grief and anger," the group also offered "condolences to those who have lost their loved ones."

"We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason," the group said. "Our own experience 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 our self-esteem."