Asian Americans Hold First National Rally in Washington For Racial and Social Equality

Racism driven by Covid has served as a wake-up call for many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, prompting them to demand parity and seek ways to end anti-Asian hatred and injustice.

The Asian American and Pacific Islander community will organize their first national Unity March, an anti-racism demonstration that is expected to attract at least 10,000 participants and maybe as many as 15,000.

The march is supported by more than 75 groups, such as AAPI nonprofits, advocacy groups, the NAACP, Voto Latino, the Arab American Institute, and the National Council of Jewish Women. Some of the most important themes are racial and economic equality, cultural and media representation, and the right to vote.

The event comes amid the 40th anniversary week of Vincent Chin’s murder, which sparked the Asian Americans’ movement. It was the first time the government filed a civil rights action for an Asian American, yet Chin’s killers served no time.

The Supreme Court’s decision Friday to abolish abortion rights gives the Unity March greater urgency. AAPI women stand a higher risk of prosecution for their pregnancy decisions due to anti-immigrant stereotyping, according to a statement endorsed by nearly 40 AAPI organizations.

The Unity March is “more than a response to violence. It shows how complex and diverse our community is,” said Tiffany Chang, march organizer and director of community engagement at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC. During a time that can also feel discouraging and overwhelming for AAPIs, the march also aims to create a “sense of community and purpose again.”

The diverse organizers and partners include APIAVote, NAKASECOCA National, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (Saldef), and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.

Unity March organizers’ diverse agendas represent AAPIs’ wide variety of problems, from voting rights to illegal immigration to education. AAPIs hail from more than 50 nations and have the greatest economic difference in the US.