Student groups urge end to anti-Asian violence, hatred

An evening view of the Lakeside Patio. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami
By Ashley A. Williams

An evening view of the Lakeside Patio. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

Student groups urge end to anti-Asian violence, hatred

By Ashley A. Williams
In the wake of recent killings in Atlanta, the Asian American Student Association and Filipino Student Association will host a philanthropic event on Saturday to raise awareness and donations for the nonprofit organization Hate is a Virus.

Before eight people—six of whom were women of Asian descent—were shot and killed at three different spa locations in Atlanta last week, Asian students at the University of Miami were using their voices to stand against hate crimes targeting their community.

The Asian American Student Association and Filipino Student Association will host a “Cultural Showcase for a Cause” this Saturday, March 27, on the Lakeside Patio to condemn the year-long acts of violence endured by Asian Americans. The event’s mission is to raise awareness of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) culture and raise funds for Hate is a Virus, a nonprofit group aimed at dismantling racism and hate.

In the past year, Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting center that tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discriminations, shunning, and child bullying against the AAPI community in the United States, has documented nearly 4,000 anti-Asian hate incidents.

Earlier this week, University of Miami President Julio Frenk condemned the violence in a tweet, stating, “As communities continue to grapple with a convergence of crisis that go beyond the pandemic to the twin scourges of racism and violence, we @univmiami stand against hatred.” 

Frenk and Patricia A. Whitely, senior vice president for Student Affairs, are planning to attend Saturday’s event and offer words of comfort and encouragement.

Bao Duong, president of the Asian American Student Association and a junior studying neuroscience, said the recent uptick in violence prompted the group to use its inaugural event in a different way.

“We thought that it would be important to merge the two ideas,” said Duong. “To be honest, a lot of people don’t know what’s going on, so we look forward to educating them through our scripts, through informational pamphlets that can be found in their goodie bags, tabling throughout the semester, and hosting events at the Office of Multicultural Students Affairs (MSA).”

Christopher Clarke, MSA director, and Kennedy Robinson, assistant director, have extended their full support and provided resources for all AAPI student organizations during this time. On Monday, March 29, from noon to 1 p.m., MSA will host a virtual Brave Spaces event to provide a space for AAPI students to express themselves and to share tangible tools available to interested students and faculty and staff members who would like to become allies.

“First and foremost, we want to make sure that the students impacted have the support that they need, and we are connecting them to the resources that are available to them,” said Clarke, who is gratified by the University’s multiculturalism support. “MSA is centered around our students’ voices and it’s important to us to make sure that they are heard. We always want to make sure that if we are advocating, that we are advocating with their thoughts in mind.”

“I’m excited to see how our students bring together the campus community to not only display culture but to be able to point people to supporting the organization Hate is a Virus, the UM AAPI community, and the national AAPI community at-large,” said Robinson. 

At Saturday’s event, participants can expect to be fully immersed in a variety of Asian cultures, foods, and dance. From feeling the percussions of Japanese Taiko Drumming by the diverse group Fushu Daiko to experiencing a high-energy performance by SwaggeRaas, a University of Miami garba-raas competitive dance team, attendees should come ready to learn more about the AAPI community.

“Our purpose is to share the beauty of Asian cultures with the University community while also raising awareness about the issues we face today,” said Duong. “We are all coming together and showing solidarity against the unfortunate recent rise of hate, and we encourage those who can, to donate to the cause.” 

Registration is required to attend the cultural showcase, which is open to students, faculty, and staff. Get more information about the nonprofit and register.