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March Against Anti-Asian Hate Raises Awareness, Highlights Intersectionality

Noe Tanigawa

While officials wrestle over how to classify possible hate crimes, the number of documented incidents against Asians in America continues to rise. In Hawai'i, the environment for Asians is different because of demographics. Still, the organizers of Saturday's rally "Stop Asian Hate" in Honolulu said we have a lot to learn.

"A lot of people have definitely asked us, 'Why did you put on this event when Hawai‘i is majority Asian? I mean, do we have any Asian hate problems here?'" said Jeffrey Kim, one of the organizers at Saturday's march.

The answer to that is yes, Kim said.

"Just because you're Asian yourself doesn't mean that you are immune from discriminating against other Asians. Asian immigrants from one country discriminate against Asian immigrants from other countries all the time," he said.

Kim said awareness of racial discrimination in 2021 means becoming aware of its intersectionality, or the way that racism plays out in wealth, education, politics, all aspects of American life. 

"This will be a much more intersectional movement moving forward. It's not just about stop Asian hate, or if you're Black, you stop Black hate or Black Lives Matter," he said. "As one of our speakers said, it's about our collective liberation--anybody who is experiencing injustice in this world, period."

Young Progressives Demanding Action - Hawai?i, Hawai?i for Black Lives, Hawai?i Youth Climate Coalition, Coronacare Hawai?i and the Sunrise Movement Honolulu Hub came together around this first rally to form a group called 808 Against Hate. 

Credit Noe Tanigawa

Kim is with the Sunrise Movement, a climate change group that focuses on jobs and the Green New Deal.

He said Hawai'i's treatment of Micronesians is no different from the discrimination Asian people or Black people face.

"Especially, there's all these comments that we got like, 'Oh why are you doing this here? This isn't the mainland.' Just because of questions like that, we find that there is the reason to continue. So we've been talking a lot and the energy is definitely there."

Follow their social media accounts @808againsthate, @stopasianhate and others to learn more.

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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