AUSTIN, Texas — Community leaders gathered on Saturday afternoon to condemn hate crimes against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
Hundreds of people wore stop Asian hate shirts and brought signs to show solidarity with the Asian community.
Speakers and special guests included APAPA Texas Regional Chair Alice Yi; Huston Tillotson University President Dr. Collette Pierce Burnette; State Reps. James Talarico, Celia Israel, Vikki Goodwin and Sheryl Cole; Austin Mayor Steve Adler; and KVUE's own Jenni Lee, among many others.
"When we stand in solidarity – that is how throughout history we have won," said City Councilmember Greg Casar, "whether that's fighting back against the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 1880s or against the Japanese internment or against the Muslim ban or against the border wall, or just like last week people stood against refuge camps – and just hours ago our president announced we are going to bring some refugees back into this country."
KVUE'S Lee told a brave story about her own experience with racism.
"We just visited a small central Texas town to see their Christmas lights," said Lee. "I posted a small video of that on my Instagram. Someone with a confederate flag profile posted, 'Go back to Austin you scum. You don't belong in real Texas.'"
Lee said she told that story not for sympathy but to show she too has felt the racism.
The Stop Asian Hate Rally & Vigil was scheduled for Saturday, April 17, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Huston-Tillotson University on Chicon Street. A press release for the event said it was an effort by a coalition of grassroots organizers in Austin and San Antonio, along with the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) - Austin Chapter.
Stop AAPI Hate published a report in March that covers the 3,795 incidents received by the reporting center from March 2020 to February 2021. The report shows that Texas ranks fourth in the nation in anti-Asian incidents.
"The coalition condemns the violence against members of the Asian community and calls on Austinites to unite against hate of all forms," the event's press release reads. "The event lineup celebrates the richness in diversity of the AAPI community and the intersectionality among ally causes and constituencies."
Those wishing to attend could RSVP. Organizers are also accepting donations and selling a fundraiser shirt to support the rally and future AAPI voter engagement and civic empowerment efforts.
Masks and social distancing were required at the rally. The event was also livestreamed on Facebook here.
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