Asian community in Iowa City reacts to proclamation against bullying

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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Iowa City, Iowa (KCRG) - As May is Asian American and Pacific Islander History Month, Iowa City’s Mayor proclaimed Tuesday as Asian American and Pacific Islander Day Against Bullying.

“It’s really disheartening to see a rise in violence against Asian American communities,” said Ming Lodh.

Lodh is a first-generation immigrant from China. Although, she says she hasn’t experienced it locally, she’s seen more cases of anti-Asian violence and rhetoric, nationally, this past year.

“I have seen rumors and conspiracy theories about the virus spread on social media,” she added. “Our former president’s repeated use of racially motivated terms such as ‘China virus’ didn’t help.”

According to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, during the pandemic, 32% of Asian adults say they have feared someone might threaten or physically attack them. A majority of Asian adults in that study, 81%, also say violence against them is increasing.

“Since the Atlanta shooting, we have done numerous events and sessions. We want to educate our members about violence, and about how to protect themselves against violence,” Lodh said.

Lodh is also a member of the Iowa City Area Chinese Association. She adds the Mayor proclaiming Tuesday as Asian American and Pacific Islander Day Against Bullying this year is a welcome next step.

“It is a call for celebration of our unique tradition and culture. It is a recognition of the pain and suffering endured by many Asian Americans,” Lodh said.

Lodh says it’s also an important chance for people who are not of Asian heritage to also look from their point of view.

“We need to band together to raise awareness. Take time to learn, and take time to support them where they face challenges and violence like this,” Lodh said.

The Association, along with the Iowa City Downtown District, held an event celebrating this proclamation just this past weekend. Lodh says they are working on several other events to keep their message out there.

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