Photo by Sato Kazuya
By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent
Asian Americans in Cincinnati came together to emotionally support each other in the aftermath of the Atlanta spa shooting.
Organizers estimate some 500 people attended a rally Sunday held outside the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center next to the Ohio River.
“Silence can lead to more death and more violence. As a community, we cannot be silent any more,” said Hongmei Li, a community member and mother of two young children told the crowd.
With the support of Ohio’s Governor and senior U.S. Senator, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs and the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Cultural Exchange Association produced the event.
“We are not alone, with you all, we can walk out of the front door without being afraid. We are the race we are born with. So, let’s stand up , speak up, together let’s stop Asian hate,” said Hao Cong of Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs.
Cong shared the story of her son Alex who hesitated recently before leaving the house for a bike ride.
“Am I going to get bullied because how I look?” her son Alex asked.
After hearing that story, Cincinnati Police Officer Anthony Johnson approached Alex at the rally and offered to be his friend. He told Alex that if anyone bullied him, to make sure they knew his friend, Officer Johnson, would hear about it.
Most participants were carrying home made signs such as “#Stop Asian Hate,” “We are Americans too,” “Unite Against Racism,” “Asians not Virus” etc. There were many families with school age children participating.
“The Cincinnati area has not been affected much by anti-Asian speeches nor violence like the ones in California and New York,” said Sato Kazuya, the President of the local chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. “However, the mass killing of Asian women in Atlanta area really shocked the population to organize the rally and to have brought them out.”
Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) sent a message of support after ordering the American and Ohio flags flown at half staff in memory of those killed in Atlanta.
“I want Ohio’s Asian American population to know that you are valued and appreciated for the numerous contributions you make in this state,” he said.
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) also sent a statement of support.
“To any Ohioan who feels scared or threatened right now, know that we support you and will do all we can to make your family feel safe and supported,” Brown said.
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