Unite Against Hate Rally draws hundreds to Hwy 99 International District in Edmonds

In response to the recent nationwide wave of hate crimes directed at Asians and people of Asian descent, an estimated 400-plus residents from Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and surrounding communities gathered along the stretch of Highway 99 comprising Edmonds’ International District to support Asians and the Asian community.

“We’re here in response to the horrific surge in hate crimes directed against Asians, and to express our outrage,” explained event organizer Karin Mei Butler of Edmonds. “The violence we’ve seen this week in Atlanta is heartbreaking, and is only the latest in the disturbing increase in crimes against Asians nationwide.”

Organized with very short notice – Butler says that she only began putting the event together two days ago – by rally time the event’s Facebook Page had attracted more than 600 people who said they would attend.

In addition to assembling materials for signs and printing a brochure, Butler and her crew took the time to visit businesses along Highway 99 to inform them of event.

“We wanted the businesses to know what was happening, and to let them know we’re here to support them,” Butler explained. “We worked with them to ensure that participants didn’t park in areas set aside for customers and that they were aware of timing and expected crowd size. We want to support the businesses of our International District.”

The event flyers – many of which were distributed to businesses along the route – contain a wealth of contact information about how and where to report incidents of hate crimes, mental health resources, and other pertinent references. You can see the flyer here.

“We hope the flyers will encourage folks to be allies, support the Asian community and to stand up if they see acts of hate,” Butler added.

But the effort will not stop here.

“We will continue to work with diversity commissions throughout the area, and working to get representation on City Councils,” she continued.  “We hope this can lead to greater perspective so that everyone can be represented in our communities.  It’s not about specific groups of people – it’s about a greater humanity.”

— By Larry Vogel

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