Kent State rallies in support of the Asian Community

Rally goers painted the campus rock with various messages in support of the Asian community.

Chris Bright Reporter

Nearly 250 people filled the field behind Kent State’s performing arts building in support of the Asian community Wednesday night. Rally goers marched from the university’s performing arts building to the campus rock, chanting messages of hope along the way. Supporters then decorated the campus rock with messages intended to stop the spread of Asian hate.

Here’s a look at some of the supporters at the rally Wednesday night.

A Kent State professor 

Associate Professor Ikram Toumi attended the anti-hate rally in hope of supporting Asians in the community of Kent and on the university’s campus. 

“What’s happening is too much and it’s unacceptable,” said Toumi. “We stand behind them and we stand with them.” 

Toumi shared that she believes those who have power and influence must take action in stopping Asian hate.

“We need to be the decision makers to do something. We need those who have a voice, and power and impact on people to stop their hate and to change their rhetoric. Because it leads to action, and so they need to be very careful about the type of messages that they spread to their followers.”

Ikram also noted how much she appreciated Kent State administration for its support of the Asian community at the rally.

“It’s showing that Kent State is standing up with all of its community, regardless of who they are,” Said Toumi. “It’s really nice to give us a space to stand together, and to voice our anger and say that what’s happening is unacceptable.”

A member of Kent State’s Asian Community 

John Kraus was asked to lead the chanting as members of the Kent community marched to the campus rock during the rally. 

Kraus shared what leading the chant as rally members marched meant to him.

“It means letting my voice be heard, and making sure that I’m doing my part for my community to better life for those that come after me,” said Kraus. 

Support, solidarity and action were words used by Kraus when describing what this event meant to him. 

“Being able to be here today and to stand with my community brings great strength,” Kraus said.

Kent State Students

Kent State University students gathered among the massive crowd that attended the rally as well.

Sophomore Aylah Mendenhall came to the rally in support of her many friends in the Asian community. 

“I just wanted to show my support and show that hate has no home here. That I stand with all people in the Asian community and want to fight for a better tomorrow,” said Mendenhall.

Mendenhall shared that events like the anti-Asian hate rally make her feel more welcomed on campus as a woman of color.

“This honestly is a sign of progression and a sign of growth,” said Mendenhall. “It makes me feel like they actually want me here and want people in the POC community here.”

Fellow sophomore Judea Lowe believes that unity is necessary to create change.

“I think it’s important to unite together because we can’t get anything done if we don’t come together,” Lowe said. “If we keep hating on other people because of the way they look, or their values or whatever it may be we’ll never be able to defeat the system that keeps pushing us down.”

Kent student Ephraim Moore attended the rally to spread love and support for the Asian community. 

Moore believes that what he sees the Asian community fighting for now encapsulates many of the same things that he has fought for his entire life as a Black man. 

“At the end of the day, we’re all human,” said Moore. “We’re all a part of the same thing and trying to obtain the same thing, and that is peace, happiness and to protect our family.”

Chris Bright covers diversity. Contact him at [email protected]