Dozens of organizations and groups gathered in Old Town Saturday with a singular call: end anti-Asian hate.
The May 14 event highlights 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 news 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, was free, open to the public and is being held as part of AAPI Heritage Month, which started May 1.
"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 at the Flanders Festival Street at 10 a.m. and are scheduled to last all day, concluding 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.
There will be food carts and local artists in attendance, organizers said, and heritage institutions will open their doors to encourage people to come learn about their cultures.
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