More than 300 rally in Albany to stop Asian hate
Pete DeMola is reporting for the Times Union more than 300 people attended a rally March 22, at Albany’s Academy Park, holding signs denouncing systematic racism and to “Stop Asian hate.” The event was designed to offer the Capital Region’s Asian American Pacific Islander community a public way to denounce violence in the wake of the mass shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people and followed a weekend of rallies in cities across the U.S. A half-dozen people of Asian descent spoke in raw and personal terms, describing a nation that has shoehorned them into “model minority” status in an attempt to drive a wedge with other races. Yet while anti-Asian bias incidences have surged amid the pandemic, racism has long predated the wave of xenophobia, speakers said. Nicolle Beaury of Brunswick spoke of childhood peppered with insults about her appearance and racist stereotypes. She implored the crowd to engage in solidarity and get involved. State Sen. John Liu, a Queens Democrat, said the state Legislature must allocate more funding to combat hate crimes. Speakers also criticized the federal government’s hesitancy to label the shooting a hate crime, and lashed out at the Atlanta law enforcement official who tried to explain the shooting by saying the suspect was “having a bad day.” Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, flatly referred to the shooting as an “act of terrorism and white supremacy.” H.P. Wang, chairman of the Albany chapter of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs, said the group has typically focused its efforts on civic education to educate first-generation immigrants. Of the 15,000 qualified Asian voters in the Capital District, just 4,000 are registered to vote, he said. “The Asian community doesn’t speak up,” Wang said. “They’re shy. We want people to speak up. We need to energize people, the next generation." Read the full story in the Times Union.