OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Eleven days ago, the country watched in horror as a mass shooting unfolded in Atlanta, Georgia killing multiple Asian Americans.
Those devastating images awakened many across the country to violence that countless Asian Americans have endured.
From the bowels of that grief rose a singular cry, “Stop Asian Hate.”
Saturday, dozens in Overland Park, Kansas added their voices and Nikki Pauls Desimone helped lead the charge.
“That we can come together white people, Black people, Asian people, Hispanic people in Kansas City to come together and to say, ‘Enough of this! We have to do something.’“ Desimone said.
Like Desimone, the organizers of this rally are adopted parents of Asian children.
They say recent events have caused some uncomfortable conversations.
“It is so important for me that we talk about this stuff at home,” Desimone said. “We don’t shelter her from anything. We tell her and so for her, we wanted to do this.”
Her daughter, Eleanor, a seventeen-year-old High school student, said things took a turn for the worse after the coronavirus was racialized.
“Until this coronavirus happened, and then I don’t know, like other people started blaming that we brought it here and that’s just kind of upsetting,“ Eleanor Pauls said.
Demonstrations like this one in Overland Park, Kansas have erupted across the country.
At this rally FOX4 spoke to 16-year-old Lily Ren who said she has faced this discrimination firsthand.
“It’s honestly one of the worst feelings in the world when you are told that, your fellow students tell you that, you are different and you will never be accepted,” Ren said. “When they make all the stereotypical jokes of, ‘Oh hey! Why aren’t you the number one student?’ or ‘Hey! Don’t you eat cats and dogs?’“
Ren said the time of Asian American silence is over.
“There are some Asians who are friends with me who will speak out, who will be like, ‘Hey! If you say this to me, I am going to say something back, like I will talk back, I will fight back so don’t test me.’“
Ren, a gifted debate competitor, believes these demonstrations make a difference, because without struggle there is no progress.
“Literature that I read tells me like, ‘Hey, the only way that we can get stuff done is if we talk about it, if we argue, if we try and change people’s mentality.’”