Hundreds rally against anti-Asian hate
Hundreds attended a National Day of Solidarity Against AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate rally, one of many demonstrations across the country, at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common on Monday. Attendees watched a lion dance performance by members of the Asian American Cultural Center, listened to singing by New Moon International, and together blew whistles donated by the Yellow Whistle Campaign.
Ret. Army Major Gen. William S. Chen, the first Chinese American two-star general, led the Pledge of Allegiance and was honored by elected officials and candidates, including acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey and City Councilor Michelle Wu, who is also running for mayor. Mayoral candidate John Barros also spoke at the event.
Wu said the Asian American experience is often shrouded by a sense of invisibility and that she wants to see all communities represented in policies, legislation and infrastructures.
“I grew up in this country, I was born in the United States and, like so many Asian Americans, have constantly been asked, ‘Where are you from, where are you really from?’ There’s a sense of perpetual foreigner status, that the first assumption when you see someone of Asian American descent, is that maybe they’re an immigrant or in some ways connected to being newer to this area. That sense of invisibility really exacerbates and perpetuates all of the issues we’ve been talking about today,” said Wu. “Representation matters.”
Janey said it’s important that people stand together for the national day of solidarity as a surge of anti-Asian hate has affected Boston and the rest of the country.
“Today is Memorial Day, and I was proud to attend a number of events celebrating our fallen heroes who have died, made the ultimate sacrifice, so that we could all live more freely here, defending freedoms and democracy in this country,” Janey said. “But none of us can truly be free unless we are all free.”
Hua Wang, co-chair of the New England Chinese American Alliance and one of the organizers of the event, said that racial justice work is like a marathon and that there is still more work to do.
“You hurt one, you hurt us all. There is a solidarity, not only among Asian AAPI communities, but with all people of color, and also with any disfranchised, marginalized groups. It’s important to come together and join forces,” Wang said. “That’s the only hope for our nation. The strength is that we are a multi-racial, multi-ethnic democracy. But we need to do our part to make sure it stays that way and gets even better.”
Wu also stressed that it is crucial for all communities to unite against racism.
“It’s so important to see people continue to come out even as the mainstream conversation has moved on to other topics, because this has been around since long before COVID and it’s been accelerating,” Wu said. “I’m really heartened to see so many people from all different backgrounds coming together to end anti-Asian racism, but also to recognize how all of our communities are intertwined, and we need to make sure we’re speaking out to end racism across the board.”