Thousands are expected to gather at the National Mall in Washington, DC on Saturday for a Unity March — a multicultural event organized by Asian American leaders.
Organizers say the main goal of the event is to bring together the Asian American community and other historically marginalized groups to connect, learn from one other and raise awareness about issues of racial equality, economic justice and civic engagement.
The event comes just a day after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The march will happen in close proximity to the US Capitol and Supreme Court building, as protesters demonstrating against the ruling are expected to continue gathering across the nation.
Tiffany Chang, event organizer and Director of Community Engagement at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, said the major court decisions the country is currently grappling with are another reminder of what the Asian American community is fighting for.
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“These issues are going to affect Asian Americans as well, and there’s no way that we can segment Asian issues from the gun violence prevention movement and from the reproductive justice movement,” said Chang. “We’re very aware of the wide array of issues we’re facing right now, and we’re hoping to be responsive as things develop.”
This week also marks the 40th birthday of the murder of Vincent Chin, whose death galvanized the Asian American civil rights movement.
The event is scheduled to begin at 12 pm Saturday and will feature numerous speakers from diverse backgrounds.
Organizers hope to bring attention to other issues impacting multicultural and marginalized communities. These issues include establishing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people, promoting access to voting for traditionally disenfranchised citizens and supporting efforts to offer multicultural studies in K-12 education.
The march’s planning coalition is led by ten organizations – including Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, Gold House, Sikh American Legal Defense (SALDEF), and Asian and Pacific Islander Vote (APIAVote) – and consists of more than 50 multicultural partners representing Black, Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQ+ and other historically marginalized communities.
Kiran Gill, event organizer and Executive Director at SALDEF, said she hopes the march will encourage those in attendance to take the next step and get involved in their community.
“What we really want to get out of this march is for people to A, understand the issues and B, activate where they can,” said Gill. “We will have calls to action around each of these areas that people can mobilize around to engage on the local, state and federal level, because it is through solidarity that these issues can be recognized and addressed.”
The idea to create a march was born after the racially-motivated mass shooting at three spas in Atlanta in March 2021 that left eight dead – six of whom were women of Asian descent – and the FedEx facility shooting in Indianapolis that killed eight the following month – four of whom were members of the city’s Sikh community.
“The message that we took away from Atlanta and Indianapolis is that we cannot combat racist and xenophobic violence alone,” Chang said. “So, this cannot be an anti-Asian hate mobilization because what we are up against is a system that in a lot of ways is built on and takes for granted violence against communities of color.”
Chang says these goals can only be achieved by organizing and working together.
“What I want people to see is that solidarity is not a made-up concept, solidarity is survival,” said Chang.
“The purpose of this is not only to reflect on the last 40 years of Asian American movements, but also to move forward together and ask, what does it look like to rebuild and reestablish the foundation for Asian American activism in a way that recognizes the historical ties and solidarities between Asian American the Black, Indigenous, Latinx civil rights movements as well?” said Chang.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism