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BRATTLEBORO — About 50 people rallied together at Plaza Park on Tuesday to call on local, state and federal politicians to do more to address the series of racist murders and assaults against Asian Americans that have occurred around the US in the past few months.

One of the featured speakers was Emma Allen, a student at the University of Vermont who grew up in Brattleboro.

“What many people don’t realize is just how much Asian Americans have done for this country,” she told the crowd. “This month, we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, and for good reason. A lot of people think Asian Americans haven’t been in the US for long, but that’s just not true. One of the first established communities of Asian Americans living in North America settled almost 300 years ago off the coast of New Orleans. Chinese immigrants built the transcontinental railroad. Chinese physicist Chien-shiung Wu helped develop atomic science with the Manhattan Project. What about Duke Kahanamoku, 5-time olympic gold medalist and actor? Or Jerry Yang, the Taiwanese-American co-founder of Yahoo? Or Steven Cho, co-founder of YouTube? What about the Filipino labor workers who would eventually be joined by activists like Ceasar Chavez and Dolores Huerta? Or Yuri Kochiyama, who hosted civil rights activists in her own home and would eventually go on to work with Malcolm X? This is what Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month should be about, not whether or not our community members will be attacked.”

Another key speaker, Lisa Chen, is a member of the board of Southeastern Vermont Community Action.

“I’m Asian and I’m a woman. Most people think that means quiet and submissive. Not me,” she told the crowd.

Asian American leader Jason Wu said in a May 14 NBC News report, “We’re calling for a redistribution of wealth and resources into things like health care, and housing, social services, because we know that’s at the root of the violence that we see in our communities, is due to inequality.”

At the Brattleboro rally, Tracy Donahue introduced the speakers. She organized the event with Eesha Williams. George Carvill led the group in a song about love and peace. He also provided the sound system for the event.

More information about how to support this movement is on the website of the Asian American Federation,