A coalition of several community organizations, led by the Princeton Chinese Community group, will hold a rally and vigil in response to the murders of six Asian women in Atlanta last week and the rise in racism against Asian Americans.
The rally and vigil will be held on Palmer Square on Saturday, March 27, at 1 p.m. Attendees should wear masks and practice safe social distancing.
The Princeton Chinese Community group drafted a statement about the Atlanta killings and the rally that was co-signed by several area organizations, including: the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at Princeton University, the Central Jersey Chinese American Association, La Convivencia NJ, the Montgomery Township Equity and Inclusion Committee, the New Jersey Vietnamese American Community Association, Princeton Progressive Chinese, Princeton Theological Seminary’s Asian American Program, the Princeton University Chinese American Parents Association, Our Revolution Trenton, and Mercer United Chinese Americans NJ.
“We are outraged by the racially targeted killings in Atlanta as well as the blatant racism
and misogynistic dehumanization demonstrated toward the victims. We ask for solidarity from all our brothers and sisters as we demand action and change. We ask our community leaders and elected representatives to respond to this violence with policies that support and protect our most vulnerable community members,” reads a statement from rally organizers.
“We understand deeply that the fundamental root of anti-Asian hate crimes is systemic racism and xenophobia in America. The model minority myth is a stereotype that obscures the long history of racism, and hides the diversity within our communities. Asian Americans have ancestral roots in more than 20 different countries. We are U.S.-born, naturalized citizens, and undocumented immigrants. We are working-class and we are executives. Our differences are what makes us Americans,” reads the statement. “Like all racial injustice in this country, the systematic discrimination and biases against Asian Americans have too long been left unaddressed and too often invisible in the public’s eyes. Generations of Asian Americans have worked hard to support their families and contribute to our communities. What goes unrecognized are the ways Asian Americans have continually faced, and fought, race-based violence and discrimination. We have been manipulated into the myth of the model minority for the purpose of trivializing our pain and suffering and justifying the systemic oppression of Black and Latinx people. We will not allow ourselves to be used as a wedge.”
Close to 20 percent of Princeton residents are Asian.
“As the largest minority group in this town, we see the urgency for change, and we understand our responsibility in joining and forging a unified front. There is no space for racism in this town. Hereby we are calling for a rally and vigil to remember the lives lost and the suffering due to racism and xenophobic violence in this country, and to remind ourselves the importance of solidarity and unity, and to recognize our collective strength in building a strong community,” organizers said.
“We are determined to stand united not only with all members of Asian communities, but also with all members of the Black, Latinx, Indigenous and communities of color, people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, people of all religious and spiritual beliefs, people of all abilities, and all who believe in humanity. We know that we are fighting the same fight together—for safety, dignity and justice,” organizers said. “Together we can build a better and stronger community in our beloved town and beyond.”
The organization Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate reports that there have been 3,795 incidents of anti-Asian hate, ranging from verbal harassment and name calling to physical assaults, between March 19 of 2020 and February 28 of 2021.
Princeton Mayor Mark Freda issued a statement on Saturday about the Atlanta killings and called for the community to speak out against anti-Asian racism. “Over the last year, there has been a rise in rhetoric, harassment, and violence against this community. We should celebrate the diversity that exists within our country. Acts of discrimination, hate crimes, and physical attacks are not part of our core values as Americans,” Freda said. ” It is distressing to see hate and discrimination against any group of people living in the United States As individuals, and as a nation, we need to commit ourselves to reverse the increased violence, racism, and discrimination that has become too common over the last year.”