The actress, who is Korean-American, was teary-eyed in her video message, which she captioned, "3 deadly shootings targeting Asian Women in Atlanta yesterday. I couldn't sleep. Some of these 5am ramblings are very personal, but I decided to share because ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I hope this helps someone feel not so alone in all this muck. Allies, thank you and please watch til end, this is societal programming that we can change."
In the video, Ashley quoted Pachinko author Min Jin Lee, who tweeted her own message after the attacks, which came just days after Steven Yeun became the first Asian-American to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his work in Minari.
"In less than 48 hours, we had a historic Asian Oscar moment with multiple firsts in 93 years—then a mass shooting targeting 3 Asian-owned businesses," the writer tweeted. "This is how terrorism works—you're not allowed to feel safe, accepted, or valued. We can resist. Take up space. Make noise."
Ashley continued, "These things happen when people have rage and entitlement, and when they prey on the weak. I really don't want to cry right now, because I do not want to perpetuate the idea that Asian women are weak, because we're not."
She added that she is seeking a way to "move forward in a country run by white supremacy."
"I have a lot of hope, I do, for this younger generation," she added. "I guess that's what every generation thinks, right? That they are making a better world for the younger generation. I guess that's the whole point. So, I do hope that this younger generation lives in a world where they don't have to deal with this, or they at least have the tools and allies to deal with it better than I am dealing with it right now."
The Broadway star, 29 who scored a Tony nomination for her role in Mean Girls, also spoke about the thousands of hate crimes against Asian people each year. NBC News reported on March 16 that there are roughly 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents each year, mostly against Asian women.
"This racism starts at a very small level. It starts when you call a virus that shuts down the whole world the 'Kung Flu virus.' It also starts when you roll your eyes or make fun of waiters or Chinese food delivery people and the nail artist. I'm guilty of that, too," Ashley shared through tears. "The amount of times I've been asked where I'm from before what my name is...you don't understand what undervaluing that does. Starting with children when every Asian should be able to be good at math and play a classical instrument and not be bullied and shunned and told you are only good at that because you are Asian. That makes literally no sense.
"It starts with the stupid little jokes," she continued, "even with your close friend, it starts with saying 'Oh this is a good time for you to be in that industry because ethnic is really in right now.'"
She concluded, "I could go on and on and on and this is not about that. It just this 21-year-old with a gun last night, he came from somewhere and at some point someone could have told him what he was feeling and thinking, and that hate was wrong. It starts at really small level and i think we can do it."
The man suspected of carrying out the attacks, Robert Aaron Long, 21, has yet to say the attacks were racially motivated, according to NBC News. Of the eight people killed, six were Asian women, while two were white.
Watch Ashley's message above.