'We are Americans' dozens gather in Rochester to stop the hate against the Asian/Pacific Islander community | WHEC.com

'We are Americans' dozens gather in Rochester to stop the hate against the Asian/Pacific Islander community

Emily Putnam
Updated: April 03, 2021 07:11 PM
Created: April 02, 2021 10:28 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Dozens of people are gathering near the Maplewood YMCA in solidarity to stop the hate against the Asian/Pacific Islander community.

Organizers say hate crimes have increased in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic against the AAPI community and it needs to stop. 

The gathering is being organized by the Rochester Mayor’s Special Advisor to New American Issues.

According to organizer Bijaya Khadka, who is a Founding Chair of the New Americans Advisory Council, in recent years there have been more than 3,800 reported hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. 

Khadka shared some of his own personal experiences with racism, which he says have been happening for years but have gotten worse since the start of the pandemic. 

"In 2015, I was one of the victims of hate, my father is one of the victims of the hate, and I can name thousands of people that have faced the hatred towards our community,"  Khadka said.

He was joined by about 60 other members of the AAPI community at Saturday's rally, as well as allies from across the area. One of the activists' main goals was to help people understand that you don't have to look a certain way to be an American. 

"They're calling us, you know, Coronavirus, go back to your country, you don't belong to this country," Khadka said. "We are one people. We may look different, we may talk different, but we are Americans."

New York State Assemblymember Sarah Clark, who represents parts of Rochester, Irondequoit, and Brighton, was in attendance at today's rally and voiced her support for ending hate against AAPI people. 

In a release that was sent out Friday, Frank Keophetlasy said, “We are at a time where race relations have taken the spotlight all across this Country. Systemic racism runs deep in our society and is continuing to affect those in our Black and Brown communities. This last year, in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also particularly impacted those in the Asian/Pacific Islander community giving way to a 150% increase in hate crimes towards the AAPI community. Now is the time to stop the hate. Now is the time to unite in Peace.”


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