By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
Westborough – Over a hundred protesters gathered around the Westborough Rotary March 27 to protest anti-Asian hate following recent acts of violence across the country.
The event came together at the organization of the Westborough Chinese American Association, gathering a number of attendees from Westborough and the surrounding area.
“There’s so much hate on the news, there’s so much hate in the world, you need a place to speak out,” protester Kaitlyn Olivera told the Community Advocate during the event.
Olivera stood March 27 in support of her friends Jo Truong and Yan Ping.
Truong and Ping are Asian-American, themselves. All three, meanwhile, work as nurses at UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester.
Each living outside of Westborough, the three came to town as the Chinese American Association’s initial Facebook event post quickly expanded its reach online over just three days.
“I wanted to raise awareness of all the hate that’s going on for Asians,” Truong said. “I must start somewhere. So, starting locally, I’m hoping that more people will be aware of what’s going on.”
Anti-Asian hate is no new issue, activists note.
The topic has jumped to the forefront of public conscience in recent weeks, though, after a series of individual attacks on Asian-Americans followed a mass shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of whom were of Asian descent.
That, in turn, followed a documented national surge in acts of hate against Asians since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
Though Truong said she hasn’t seen overt discrimination or hate in her workplace or immediate social life, Ping said she and other members of a local running group she frequents have heard racist taunts shouted from passing cars, recently.
There have been lewd gestures.
Ping said she’s heard a number of hateful coronavirus-related jokes shouted in her direction.
“This opened eyes,” Truong said of all of this. “But there’s been hate all along. It didn’t start overnight.”
“This is not just one incident,” Ping agreed. “It’s continuously going on.”
Outside of Westborough, protesters recently gathered in large numbers in Boston and other major cities across the country. Organizers also massed separate events in neighboring communities like Hopkinton and Southborough,
Having seen these outpourings of support and energy, the next step, Troung says, is to maintain activist momentum.
“This is where we start,” she said. “This is where we become united and get support from our families and friends.”