MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Dozens gathered on the CSU Mall at Minnesota State University, Mankato Tuesday to stand in solidarity with the campus’ Asian American community to honor the lives lost in the recent shootings in Atlanta, and discuss the work that needs to be done.
“This isn’t a one-off thing,” said Henry Morris, vice president of diversity and inclusion at Minnesota State Mankato. “The murders in Atlanta, it is not unusual. And that’s the sad part about it.”
MSU’s Asian American Affairs gave students the chance to share their stories, their encounters with hate, and the concerns that have only grown over the past year.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, there were a lot of concerns with verbal harassment, feeling safe, going grocery shopping,” stated Pakou Lee, director of Asian American and Multicultural Affairs at MSU. “Especially before the mask mandate, if you were out wearing a mask, just being concerned for your physical safety.”
Demonstrations, like this one at MSU, are happening across the country, and federal leaders say they’re taking action.
The White House recently announced six new measures in response to hate directed toward Asian American communities, including a task force to address coronavirus-fueled xenophobia.
For now, local activists say they’re focused on making change in their own neighborhoods.
“We will continue to be there for students. We will let the Asian American students decide what they need from us, and we’ll be there for them ... We’re a better university for having them here,” Morris added.