“Please leave out your privilege, and please open your eyes and see the gender and racial violence.”
PHOTOS BY HONYU LIU
Editor’s note: DigBoston has documented various rallies against Asian hate in Greater Boston over the past week, and also wanted to call attention to this demonstration that took place on March 20 in Hopkinton, where Hongyu was on the scene taking photos and speaking with protesters.
In one of the many peaceful rallies supporting Asian Americans across the nation to take place in the wake of shootings in Atlanta this month that took the lives of eight people, residents of Hopkinton and Southborough demonstrated against anti-Asian hate by Hopkinton Common on Saturday, March 20. Lining up around the intersection, many held signs that read “Stop Asian Hate,” and “Unite Against Racism.”
“We are not a virus! Stop Asian Hate!” Some chanted. Drivers passed by honking horns, some rolled down their windows in signs of support.
Li Xie, a Chinese teacher at Westborough High School, helped organize the rally, and came up with the idea of holding it with a group from Hopkinton to ensure there would be a sizable crowd. They estimated that 30 to 50 would attend at most, but hundreds showed up.
According to US Census numbers, more than 11% of the population in Hopkinton town are Asian, compared to 5.9% of the US population. Xie explained that Asians were attracted to Hopkinton and Southborough for their educational resources.
Another local resident, Bai, noted that it is important for Asians to rally against racism. “In the past, we played the role of ‘model citizens.’ We raised our children and go to work,” she said. “But if we do not take a stake this time, no one will.”
Xie added, “Our culture taught us to be kind to others, but it does not mean that we do not know that we have been discriminated against. We can forgive your rudeness, but we will fight back when you hurt members, especially our elderly.”
They first shared information about the rally with other parents in school. The message circulated on WeChat, a platform commonly used by Chinese Americans. Yet the information went viral across all platforms. Some even came from Rhode Island. Lei Lei, an Asian American, heard about the protest from a WeChat group. She brought a sign saying, “We are not your fetish, we demand to be seen.” Lei came up with the slogan in response to the suspect of the Atlanta shooting’s plea of having a sexual addiction.
“The white males tend to not see us, even though they know we are hard workers,” Lei said in tears. “Please leave out your privilege, and please open your eyes and see the gender and racial violence on you.”
Karen Cvitkovich, a resident of Southborough, heard about the rally from the community Facebook page. She also sent text messages to her friends and posted about the rally on social media platforms.
“No matter where we are from, what is our age, what community we live in, we all want to speak out against what has been happening,” Cvitkovich said.