NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Hundreds gathered in Nashville's Public Square Park Sunday to show support for the Asian American community and honor the eight people killed in the Atlanta spa shootings.
“Today we come together to honor, to mourn, and to grieve eight innocent people who were violently taken from us,” said Vanderbilt student, Angie Liang.
Nashvillians of all ages and all backgrounds came together to remember the lives of those taken last week.
“This could have happened to anyone in my community, including the ones I love and care most about,” said Liang speaking to a large crowd.
Members of Nashville’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community gave personal testimonies.
“My family came to this country to make tremendous sacrifices,” said Sophia Luangrath to the crowd. She is a member of the organizations Asian Pacific Islander of Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.
Speakers called upon local and state leaders to condemn racism, create legislative change, and spread awareness of the hate Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders face.
“There is a rising anti-Asian sentiment and anti-Asian hate that stems from a lot of the language surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic that’s very inflammatory and harmful rhetoric,” said Michelle Pham, a member of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and API Middle Tennessee. “We are all connected, we are all human, and I think when we share human stories we realize the humanity in all of us,” she said.
Similar events were also held Sunday night in Memphis and Knoxville.