PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Dozens of organizations and groups gathered in Old Town Saturday with a singular call: end anti-Asian hate.
Local leaders are highlighting Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander culture and speaking out about the surge of violence and hate crimes leveled against the community since COVID-19 swept the globe.
“The goal of Oregon Rises Above Hate is to highlight AANHPI issues to the broader community while uniting our diverse and distinct communities of Asian descent together in one voice,” said organizer Anne Naito-Campbell in a press release ahead of the event. “Together, we will rise against hate, we will confront it, and we will rise above it. We will build a future that brings the promise of America to reality.”
The all-day event, put together by Oregon Rises Above Hate, is free, open to the public, and is being held as part of AAPI Heritage Month, which started May 1.
“We believe that it’s the ignorance that causes racism,” said Naito-Campbell. “If you meet somebody that is Asian-American or AAHPI, you can understand that they’re not different than you are.”
“We want to make our voice very clear — we stand united with the Old Town Chinatown community to strongly condemn racial intolerance and violence wherever it occurs,” said Elizabeth Nye, executive director of the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Festivities began with performances on Flanders Festival Street at 10 a.m. and will conclude with a lantern lighting at 6 p.m. at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. The vigil, held at dusk, is meant to honor those who died during the pandemic, organizers said.
It wasn’t just the Chinese-American community that took part in the rally. The Japanese-American Museum of Oregon, the Oregon Jewish Museum and the Oregon Historical Society were open to visitors.