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Concord Residents Join Nationwide Rallies to Stop Anti-Asian Hate


Monday, March 22, 2021   

CONCORD, N.H. -- Concord was one of many cities around the country to hold rallies this weekend, to honor the eight victims of last week's shootings at three Georgia spas.

Six of the people whose lives were taken were Asian women, and speakers urged elected officials to take action to stop hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Anti-Asian hate crimes have increased by nearly 150% during the pandemic, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino.

Rep. Latha Mangipudi, D-Nashua, told the crowd "words matter," especially when coming from elected officials.

"We should call upon them, regardless of their party affiliation, to use their words to strongly denounce hate and to condemn violence against ethnic and minority groups," Mangipudi urged. "We should demand that they put policies in place that will protect us."

Mangipudi and other speakers voiced opposition to two bills in the state Legislature.

House Bill 544 would prohibit conversations about structural racism, implicit bias and white supremacy in schools or the workplace, and House Bill 266 would prevent New Hampshire cities from becoming sanctuary cities.

Samantha Searles, founding member of Black Lives Matter Nashua, said she was coming out to support the AAPI community now the same way non-Black people of color protested in solidarity last summer after George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed by police.

"I'm so proud of the work being done with Black Lives Matter to debunk myths and amplify facts about the Black experience," Searles remarked. "And it's been amazing to see white and other people of color grow around me over the last year or so. I want the Asian community to be able to feel the same way I do."

In Congress, Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, have introduced the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, aimed at increasing Justice Department oversight of coronavirus-related hate crimes and making culturally-competent information on hate crimes accessible in multiple languages, among other measures.

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