Protesters rally to stop Asian hate in Richland

Ralliers at John Dam Plaza in Richland, WA on Saturday, March 27th, 2021.

RICHLAND, Wash — Dozens of protesters spent their afternoon rallying to stop Asian hate at John Dam Plaza in Richland on Saturday.

This rally joins hundreds of others that have spawned after the recent massacre in Atlanta.

“We’re standing against racism against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander people and the wave of AAPI hate crimes that have spiked in the last year,” said protester Matthew Sakamoto.

Protesters held signs and waved at cars for hours, some of whom honked back in solidarity.

Another protester, Mitchell Malloy, said “building a peace movement locally” is key to making change happen.

“It shows that we are here to protect the people who are targeted and that we’re also here in defense of those communities anywhere they are,” Malloy said.

He added that seeing the growing number of rallies across the country is “powerful.”

“To see so many people out and seeing our community come together to stand against hate is a beautiful thing,” Malloy said.

Governor Jay Inslee condemned the violent attacks against the AAPI community as well.

“Washington is a place where all people should feel safe and included,” Inslee said. “This is a welcoming state and I have a zero-tolerance policy for hate and racism. We must condemn the acts of hate and violence displayed in the rising incidence of anti-Asian hate crimes in both Washington state and across the country. This is wholly unacceptable and must not stand.”

Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition tracking reports of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans says it has received at least 3,795 firsthand complaints since last year.