Iowans who are members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community spoke out against increased violence against Asians across the country during a weekend rally in Des Moines.
Speakers told stories of hate and discrimination to help raise awareness of Asian experiences in Iowa. Bonnie Manyvong said she’s proud of her younger brother for helping to organize the event.
“Someone had to speak out,” Bonnie Manyvong says. “I mean, our culture is pretty much brought up where we were raised to be silent and quiet. Not to talk, not to speak, walk away from a situation even if it bothers you.”
A report found there were more than 3,700 Asian hate incidents nationwide in the past year. Matthew Manyvong says he decided to put the rally together on impulse after six women of Asian descent were killed in Atlanta two months ago.
“It can happen anywhere,” Matthew Manyvong says. “Why wait for something to happen here when we can prevent it from happening?” From 2019 to 2020, anti-Asian hate crimes increased more than 140-percent.
Manyvong says that’s why there are more events like these to come. He says this was the first event of many to unify the Asian community in Iowa.
(By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio)