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Atlanta Shootings Prompt 'Stop Asian Hate Rally' At UK

Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday at the University of Kentucky to condemn the violence in Atlanta on March 16. As WUKY’s Arlo Barnette reports, the event was billed as a rally to stop Asian hate.

Dr. Donna Kwon is an associate professor of Ethnomusicology in UK’s College of Fine Arts. She sang this traditional Korean folk song at the event, and the crowd joined her in speaking the names of the victims of the Atlanta shootings. Speaking to a diverse crowd in front of Memorial Hall, UK faculty, administrators, students, and local business leaders voiced solidarity against racism in light of increased violence against Asian Americans since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Dr. Keiko Tanaka spoke against cultural misconceptions, saying that Asians are not a homogenous group, nor a “model minority,” but make up 60 percent of the world’s population and are as diverse as could be possible.

“Let’s call the problem for what it truly is: the problem is White Terrorism. The dominance of White Voice, to define everyone’s lives. Blacks, browns, reds, yellows, and any shades of colors don’t get to frame our own life challenges.”

UK Diversity & Inclusion Officer Dr. Kyra Hunting spoke to those who consider themselves allies.

“Now I’m speaking specifically to members of the community like myself, who may be White and have the opportunity to be allies to this community. Every day, every single one of us can make a choice not to stand by, but to do something to combat hate against Asians and Asian Americans. Discrimination begins as an everyday affair, and so we can make everyday choices to combat hate. Support a friend, intervene when you hear racist comments, learn about bystander intervention, question your own assumptions, and amplify the voices of Asians and Asian Americans.”

Many spoke to the need for action to be taken to better protect Asian Americans. Last week, UK announced it is moving forward with additional anti-racist trainings for the Board of Trustees, members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) leadership team, workgroups, project leads and executive sponsors.

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