Members of the Asian American community and their supporters stood up against hate by putting on their sneakers and taking part in a friendly run Saturday along parts of the Boston Marathon route.
Volunteers lined the sidewalks in eight different cities and towns leading up to the Boston Common, holding signs and banners in support of participants.
“We feel like this is the time that we need to stand up,” said Shuhao Zhu, a Boston resident who ran 8 miles from Newton to Boston.
"We got a lot of cheers along the way," Zhu added. "A lot of support, honks and everything. It's great."
The protest and rally at the Parkman Bandstand, which is part of the Stand Out #StopAsianHate movement, comes amid a recent uptick in violence against Asian Americans, including last week’s shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, including a new mother. Six of the individuals killed were women of Asian descent.
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“Now is the moment where people are saying we actually need to speak up,” said Boston City Counselor Michelle Wu. “We need to be involved. We need to be active.”
Organizers of the rally said the rise in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is alarming.
"This is a crisis moment but out of a crisis comes a [...] to run and rally together an stand in solidarity and demand action," said Hua Wang of the New England Chinese American Alliance.
That action could come in the form of legislation.
Congressman Jake Auchincloss, who attended the protest, said lawmakers need to do more.
"I have co-sponsored in the last several weeks, two different initiatives to do more to take on hate crimes related to COVID which disproportionately affect the Asian American community," said Auchincloss.
A similar rally was also held in Roxbury, Mass., Saturday afternoon, where dozens gathered to condemn recent acts of violence.
Recent data from the Pew Research Center shows that attacks against Asian Americans are up and three in 10 Asian Americans (31%) report having experienced racist slurs or jokes since the beginning of the pandemic.
Research shows businesses are the primary site of discrimination followed by public streets and parks.
Today’s event, which began at 10 a.m., made three stops on Beacon St., along the Green C Line including:
- Cleveland Circle: in front of Dunkin' Donuts
- Washington Square: in front of Visionworks
- Coolidge Corner: in front of the old TD Bank
Organizers of the event included the Brookline Chinese School, New England Chinese American Association (NECCA) and Taiwanese American Professionals (TAP-Boston).