“Enough is Enough”: Princeton Stop Asian Hate Rally

Image+via+Allison+Liang22

Image via Allison Liang’22

Zander Zhang, Online Staff Writer

“Enough is enough,” echoed the hundreds-strong crowd outside the Princeton Public Library on March 27. Earlier that month, the nation bore witness to several heinous acts of hatred against the Asian community—eight people, including six Asian women, were killed at massage parlors in Atlanta and Acworth, Georgia. In wake of these victims, and in response to a growing anti-Asian sentiment, hundreds gathered together in Princeton to both rally against Asian hate and hold a vigil for those who lost their lives as a result of the violence. 

The rally, organized by the Princeton Chinese Community, provided a platform for a host of speakers to share their experiences or opinions on the matter. Starting with a moment of silence for the victims of the Atlanta shooting led the Reverend Robert Moore of the Coalition for Peace Action, many of the speeches and works delivered at the rally all followed a similar theme: they asked for unity within the Asian community—which is comprised of many different groups—in the face of adversity and hatred. Dr. Sam Wang, a neuroscientist at Princeton University, was one of the speakers who spoke of Asian solidarity: “There are so many different Asian communities—East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian,” Wang explained, “All these communities have to come together in solidarity. And that’s what we are doing today.” In addition to emphasizing the importance of solidarity within the Asian community, another important theme during the rally was asking those outside the community to stand along with Asian-Americans as well. As such, many signs hoisted up by members of the crowd read statements such as, “Asians are Americans,” or, “We are all Americans.” These signs, along with the messages of the speakers, remind the community of a unity that is necessary for peace and justice to be achieved. 

Without a doubt, Asian hate is a topic that has often been underreported in past years; the Asian community in Princeton is the largest it has ever been, yet the community still has lacked representation in the town. “I think that anti-Asian hate has been overlooked for a long time, so its recent rise shouldn’t be surprising,” writes junior Sanjana Paramesh, who is also a co-head of the APIDA Affinity Group. “I’m glad that people are starting to take this issue seriously, but it’s really disheartening to see my East Asian peers, especially Asian elders, being the target of hate,” Paramesh continues. Bias against Asians is something that the country has been struggling with since Asians first began immigrating to America in the 19th century, but it has rarely been talked about. Cecilia Birge, assistant principal of Princeton High School and leader of the Princeton Chinese Community also spoke of this idea: “It is important that we disrupt this hate… It starts with clearly creating environments where education matters more than anything we do on any given day,” she asserted. It is necessary for bias and hatred to be acknowledged and addressed, whether it be in an educational or public setting (like the rally); education is one of the most important things to consider when combating hatred, as Birge pointed out. 

When asked about  their opinions on the rally, many attendees of the rally spoke of the sheer amount and diverse range of people that were present. As junior Arnav Kokkirala noted, “The main thing that really surprised me about the rally was how many people were there, both Asian and non-Asian. It meant a lot knowing that so many people cared about an issue that affects me and those like me.” Similarly, Princeton High School junior and social justice club C.A.R.E leader Francesca DeFaria also commented, “Being that there were so many people there, I hope that those who attended—and also those that were unable to—will take further steps to stop Asian hate and continue to speak up.” 

The fact that so many members of the community were at the rally to help raise awareness of Asian hate shows that progress is being made. While there is still much work to be done, the Princeton Stop Asian Hate rally serves as a significant milestone in the fight against Asian hate.

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