Earlier this week, a protest and vigil were held in downtown Detroit to denounce the spa shootings in Atlanta, GA, which left 8 dead, including 6 Asian American women.
The shootings come at a time of increasing attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. According to the group, Stop AAPI Hate, there’ve been 3,800 hate incidents recorded since the beginning of the pandemic.
Hundreds gathered—people from many Asian American communities and their supporters—to voice their concern.
For some, coming to the event marked their first time to speak out in public against violence and discrimination against the AAPI community.
Read full transcript:
Yanli Zhao, Northville We saw kids get bullied in school. A lot of kids go back to school, they’re being called saying “You bring back the virus”. There are people walking in the neighborhood and random people will come up and tell them, “Go back to China”. It’s just, it’s been fueling to all the anxiety and this is a tipping point for us.
Mike Han, Detroit I’ve been name called; I’ve been bullied. And I grew up in southwest Michigan, you know, so and then living in Detroit, you know, it’s one way or the other, it’s all white or it’s all black. And, you know, it’s, it’s challenging being the only one, right. And, and so, gathering here today in Detroit is like, this is for me, the first time.
Lily Ho, Northville This is my first time going marching like this. And I say, you know what? We have to do something; we got to stand up. We cannot sit, we cannot be silent anymore.
Ceena Vang, Organizer, Whenever We’re Needed There is a swarm of emotions today. It really is so beautiful for all of us to be out here, to be here, gathered today in unity. But, unfortunately for such a devastating purpose. However, it is a mix of anger, frustration, sadness, mixed with feeling eager, feeling liberated. But truly, the reason why we are here is bittersweet.
Zora Bowerns, Oragnizer, Whenever We’re Needed One thing that I really want to know about the Atlanta shooting is that it really seems to parallel the Charleston church shootings in 2015, when hate crimes against black people began to spike. The shooter was coddled and protected, just like now. The news and the media downplayed it and downplayed the severity of the event until people rallied together, just like now.
Stephanie Chang, State Rep., Detroit One of the things that is so painful, is to know that we’ve been talking about this for a year and that it took a mass shooting for America to wake up.
Ranjeev Puri, State Rep., Canton It’s going to be different this time, because this time we know it’s not OK to remain silent. We know that remaining silent is not an answer. We know that we are American, we know that we are not stereotypes, and we know that we belong here just as much as everyone else.
Ngianhormua Yang, Shelby Township ] None of your political standings have anything to do with today. Today is about us as humans.
Mai Xiong, Commisioner, Warren, Macomb County My family and I came to the United States because our people were being persecuted because they were helping American soldiers in the Vietnam War. And like all parents, ours wanted to have a better opportunity at life. But in 2021, Asian-Americans across the country do not feel safe at all.
Unhyo Yi, Detroit Over the beginning of Corona, after the first couple of months, I could say 3 or 5 times a day, you know, people would tell me that we started this, you know, how dare you ruin our lives, you know, go back to your country. Well, to be frank, this is my country. You know, I was born in Detroit and I’m not going anywhere.
Somya Prakash, Farmington Hills Words matter; it’s called the Coronavirus and nothing else. We let it happen by racial slurs, normalizing the fact that it’s so common and so normal to say slurs towards Asian Americans and not say anything to fix it, whether that’s in the workplace, in your friend groups, on social media. Come on, we’ve all seen it.
Justin, Immigrant from China We deserve the respect, we earned it! That’s why we come here to get our voice heard. We’re not begging for it, we earned it, we deserve it!
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