OSWEGO, N.Y. — With the surge of hate crimes towards the Asian community, many protestors call to action to end the violence of racially motivated attacks. As a response from the recent Atlanta spa shooting and multiple documented crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, organizers and protestors hope to spark conversation and shine a light on the racism and discrimination they have experienced for years.
The Atlanta spa shooting early last month left eight people dead, six of which were Asian women. Since then, many people have had a growing concern for other incidents that have occured.
As multiple rallies and marches continue to help advocate for Asian communities, photographer Valerie Gomez, collaborated her photography skills with her activism to bring these issues to the forefront of her social media platform.
“After attending the BIPOC for women solidarity march against Asian hate, through there I really connected with my identity, I found myself photographing these amazing and yet painful moments and ever since then I kept attending these rallies,” Valerie Gomez said. “When I’m at these marches I want to make sure I’m not there for just myself or my work, there’s a bigger cause that’s involved, so I wanna be there first as an activist and make sure I’m not getting in the way or pushing anyone aside…and my goal is to make sure my intentions are very pure”.
With many rallies being held across the states, this inspires students at SUNY Oswego to do the same. Organizations such as Student Association and International Student Association have spearheaded events such as marches and discussion panels to shine a light on an issue that has not received much attention within the town of Oswego.
Khine Wai, an international student from Myanmar, decided to take part in the Oswego SA organization to use their platform and advocate for international students on campus as an Asian representative.
“I have experienced racism within Oswego and especially in New York City when I travel a lot or with my friends”, Oswego Student Association’s Senate, Khine Wai said. “I look Chinese and they just say this kind of stuff… They make funny things to my eyes, which makes me very insecure. I hope that leading our upcoming march will educate and make people more aware of their actions more”.
Oswego SA is not the only platform to help voice for the Asian community as the International Student Association hosts weekly meetings to be a safe space for international students to talk about their experiences transitioning from their country of origin into America. Utilizing campus organizations gives students a platform and opportunity to voice their concerns and personal experiences they have dealt with at the University.
Oswego Student Association plans to host a march on Friday, April 16th at 4:30 p.m. Students and residents of the Oswego community can march around campus and honor victims of Asian hate crimes during the rally.