By Ross Killion, AsAmNews Staff Writer
A little over a hundred people gathered for a Black, Asian and Blasian solidarity rally at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn-based writer and activist Rohan Zhou-Lee organized Sunday’s event.
“The Blasian March is a solidarity action between Black, Asian and Blasian communities. Blasian folks are those who are mixed Black and Asian”, said Zhou-Lee in an Instagram post, “I think it’s important to discuss or continue the legacy of Black and Asian solidarity. Specifically keeping in mind the Civil Rights movement where Yuri Kochiyama marched and organized with Malcolm X, Grace Lee Boggs would organize in the Midwest and George Takei marched behind Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson who would later initiate the Stonewall Uprising. Three years earlier Tamara Ching, an Asian American trans woman, would also initiate the uprising at the Compton Cafeteria.”
The event kicked off with a series of speakers that addressed a number of issues including the history of Black and Asian solidarity, police brutality, the rights of trans people, the rights of disabled peoples, the Israel-Palestine conflict, colonialism and medical racism. A number of speakers also performed spoken word poetry and dancing.
One speaker named Somalia Rose spoke about her experiences traveling in China, Indonesia and other Asian countries. “I was treated like a celebrity”, she said, however, she also pointed out the importance of acknowledging American privilege because those with African and other non-Western passports might have a different experience traveling.
Another speaker spoke about the importance of unity. “Asian and Black solidarity is often forgotten and not included in history books.”, she said, “History books don’t teach us about Black and Asian solidarity because when we unite we become dangerous”.
Zhou-Lee also reminded the crowd that October 11 was the six year anniversary of the murder of Jennifer Laude, a 26-year old Filipina trans woman. As reported in AsAmNews, Laude was killed in 2014 by Joseph Scott Pemberton, a United States Marine, in Olongapo, Philippines. While Pemberton was convicted of homicide, he received a lenient sentence which sparked outrage and protests by transgender and other activists in the Philippines as well as renewed controversy about the presence of US military in the country.
Lasting for a little over an hour, protesters marched in a loop through downtown Brooklyn chanting several slogans including “Black Power! Asian Power!”, “Black trans lives matters! Asian trans lives matter!” and “We are the people, say it louder, we want justice for the people”.
The march concluded back at Cadman Plaza. The entire event was peaceful and no altercations with the police occurred.
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story