A solidarity demonstration hosted by the Minnesota State University, Mankato Asian American Affairs outside the steps of Armstrong Hall Tuesday was intended to raise awareness about racism against Asian Americans.
Many students and staff members came together for the demonstration to show support for MNSU’s Asian American community while speakers shared personal struggles with recent hate crimes against Asian Americans.
A moment of silence was also conducted during the demonstration in honor of the victims who lost their lives to the tragic shootings in Atlanta.
Pakou Lee, Interim Director of Asian American Affairs, spoke during the event about how the COVID-19 pandemic has made her and fellow Asian Americans fearful of verbal and physical harassment in public.
Henry Morris, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at MNSU, also shared how the University is here for the students and that it is an ally for the Asian Americans community at MNSU.
Sharing a spoken word essay about her experience as an Asian American woman Jer Yang, a junior at MNSU, also talked about how the community at MNSU can help.
“Some ways my peers can show their support during this time is to come out and get more involved and educated about the Asian community. Also to just be more aware about us,” Yang said. “University wise, I think they can join, support or promote our events and also just acknowledge our community.”
MNSU President Richard Davenport released a statement following the Atlanta shootings to all students and staff to show the University’s support of MNSU’s Asian community members.
“Racism and hatred have no place at Minnesota State University, Mankato. We do not tolerate discrimination, harassment, incivility, and unjust treatment of others. We condemn all acts of hate. Our strength comes from embracing our diversity. All of us deserve safety and security, no matter who we are or what we look like,” Davenport stated in an email to all of MNSU students and staff.
Jue Thao, junior at MNSU, said, “I just want today’s event to be recognized and I want to be recognized. Some professors aren’t really talking about this topic during our lectures, so my wish is for them to be aware of all of all the things going on.”
Many international students are enrolled at MNSU, so having a diversity and inclusion and multicultural center is crucial for those seeking direct support from fellow peers and staff.
“If people are confused about how diverse our campus or community is, I want them to take a step up and educate themselves about all the different types of people here. Throughout campus we have so many international students and a big thing is to just ask people where they are from and getting to know them instead of assuming,” Nick Lee, sophomore at MNSU who attended the demonstration, said.
This solidarity demonstration is just one of many as these acts of speaking out against racism are being held throughout the country.
Just recently, the White House declared March 26 National Day of Action and Healing in efforts to spread awareness about racism toward Asian Americans. According to media reports, hate crimes against people of Asian descent increased when COVID-19 first came to the U.S.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has also limited the amount of events on campus this year as the Asian American Affairs group at MNSU had done egg roll fundraisers in the past.
Looking toward the future they hope to host more events next fall semester.