In the wake of the Atlanta spa shootings that killed six women of Asian descent, the New Paltz community spent Saturday grieving the loss and speaking out about anti-Asian discrimination and violence.
"People under the impression that these hate crimes started when Trump came into office," said Narelys X, organizer of Saturday's rally and march in New Paltz. "Really, the hate crimes have been happening since the Asian Americans came to America and immigrated here.”
Members of the SUNY New Paltz Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance spoke about the experience of being AAPI on campus.
“Asian students have told them about racist incidents that have happened on campus, specifically toward Asian women and they really didn’t do anything about it," said Kaitlin Felician, the president of SUNY New Paltz's Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance. "And now that we’re seeing that it could have real life implications and cost people their lives, I think this is a perfect opportunity for them to listen to their students and take action.”
The alliance wants to see the university do more to support AAPI students.
“I want them to provide mental health resources and just resources in general so that the Asian American community here feels safe and happy to be here," said Jade Wong, the alliance's secretary.
As of publication of this article, SUNY New Paltz has not responded to our request for comment.
The rally’s message focused on fighting white supremacy, and while law enforcement in Georgia has yet to confirm the shootings were racially motivated, speakers said the attack was clearly targeted against Asian Americans, and in particular Asian women. Organizers also stressed the need to end the model minority myth and for minority groups to show solidarity with one another in their work to end white supremacy.
“[There's] a model minority myth where Asian people are being used as a wedge to promote white supremacy and to promote anti-Blackness, and that’s not true. Asian Americans and Black folks, in the Black community, have had a long history of solidarity," Narelys said.