Dozens gather for anti-Asian hate vigil in Boston’s Chinatown

BOSTON — Reading the names of several people killed recently because they were Asian, dozens gathered by the Chinatown Gate in Boston Saturday to honor those lives lost.

“It’s good and hard to read those names because it makes them more real,” said Enoch Liao, a pastor at Boston Chinese Evangelical Church.

This candlelight vigil was organized by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England. Executive Director Susan Chu said the community is startled by the recent violence against Asians in the U.S.

“Everyone is sort of concerned for their own personal safety and, more so, we’re concerned for the safety of our elders in the community as well,” Chu said.

Chu said the Asian community has been targeted more since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Atlanta spa shootings put many over the edge. But she said this hate is nothing new.

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“We had it after World War II with the Japanese internment camps, after 9/11 a lot of Muslims, people who look Muslim, Indians, anyone who was brown was getting targeted,” Chu said.

Several people spoke about coming together to support the community at the vigil while saying a prayer and holding a moment of silence for those killed recently.

“It’s great for me to see the community coming together about this and not just the Chinatown or Chinese, but really a lot of people coming together behind this,” Liao said. “Again, it’s not just anti-Asian issues but really it’s an issue of justice in our country.”

The group hopes they don’t have to hold another vigil like this for more victims of Asian hate, but they also hope the conversation around the issue continues.