Worcester State students, faculty, and staff gathered around the Student Center’s Common Ground space in support of the Asian members of the Worcester community. The ceremony started at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, with speeches about the ongoing hatred and discrimination towards Asian Americans and was followed by the raising of the Stop Asian Hate flag.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have experienced racism for centuries, and many have been victims of harassment, violence, and hate crimes, with an increase since COVID-19 began to spread in 2020. “A national survey by AAPI Data and Momentive reported an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. One in six Asian American adults reported experiencing a hate crime in 2021, up from one in eight in 2020,” said Worcester State education professor Sue Foo.
In response to the underrepresentation of Asian culture and history on college campuses, students Lyle DelaCruz and Tien Nguyen formed the Asian Cultural Boba Club two years ago to spread awareness about Asian culture and celebrate cultural diversity on campus. Club president DelaCruz and vice president Nguyen have organized a Lunar New Year celebration and a spicy noodle challenge event. “By spreading knowledge and understanding of Asian culture, we can help to break down the stereotypes and biases that fuel hate,” said DelaCruz.
The five speakers talked about wanting Worcester State to be an inclusive environment for all and stressed the importance of unity. “What Worcester State has committed to do together is make sure that all of our students and members of our community feel included, supported, and feel that this is a place where they can thrive and to start to fulfill their student expectations and dreams,” said President Barry M. Maloney.
The Stop Asian Hate flag symbolizes Worcester State’s commitment to making the university a place where all feel welcome. “This flag overtly depicts our value in protecting and supporting the civil rights of Asian students, faculty, and staff,” said Foo.
After the raising of the flag, student and Worcester State’s Intercultural Student Alliance President Brandol Ogando reminded the campus community that the work is far from over.
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