On April 17, around 50 people from the Tallahassee community gathered at the Florida State University’s HCB Building to commemorate the eight victims from the recent Atlanta shooting and speak out on Asian American oppression.
The Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC), along with various other local Asian American organizations such as InterVarsity, FSU’s Asian American Student Union, Asian Coalition of Tallahassee, and FSU’s Filipino Student Association spoke out at the event.
Co-organizer Tina Lu, representing InterVarsity, stated “we wanted to organize this event so that Asian Americans in our community can grieve.”
Ireland Hadley, vice president of AASU, highlighted the system oppression of racism and capitalism that we as a community need to address. He urged the crowd to fight back, pointing out “the world can be changed by one person and that person can be you!”
President of the Filipino Student Association, Sharry Solis, touched on the emotional weight of the loss of the eight victims, stating “Six is a number too big. One is a number too big, their pain is our pain!” and noted that if we, as a society, took fetishization seriously, then this wouldn’t have been possible. Solis also highlighted her disappointment in the lack of response from FSU’s leadership to rising Asian hate crimes.
Aurora Hansen, founder of Asian Coalition of Tallahassee, led the moment of silence. Everyone turned on their tea lights and held the silence for 80 seconds, to represent the eight lives that were taken, as the rally transitioned to the final performer, Kelsey Tesalona, singing Without You by AJ Rafael.
There was an open mic period to encourage members of the Tallahassee community to let their voices be heard.
The event closed with Tanvi Marulendra, co-organizer of this event, thanking people for coming, highlighting resources for grieving during these hard times.