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Asian Fest offers unity, healing during COVID-19 pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — On Saturday, people in Indianapolis rallied to show support for Asian Americans. The event was held to celebrate the community.

With music and dances to martial arts, the annual Asian Fest was a chance to uplift spirits in Indianapolis during this difficult time. The event took place at the Indy Global Village.

Anti-Asian hate crime has more than doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. Event organizers say this festival helps the healing process.

“This is our way to bring communities together. This is process for us to heal and get back to celebration, but in a very safe environment,” said the president of the Asian-American Alliance, Rupal Thanawala.

“Many challenges that our country has faced in the past we can just solve by love and care for each other,” Thanwala said.

Brad Nam, from the Korean American Association of Indiana, says at the beginning of the pandemic, he faced a lot of discrimination and he says with the number of cases in the Delta variant on the rise, it might lead to more anti-Asian hate.

“I’ve seen those eyes. I was afraid to go out in a way because when I get close to them they kind of slowly moving away from me. Hey, look at that. Maybe Chinese… something like that,” Nam said.

But he’s hopeful that by showing their heritage, people will have a bigger understanding of where they come from.

“Showing you a lot of culture about what we do and what we eat, sharing this information and I think it’s a great way to communicate with each other, to understand why we do this and why we act like this,” Nam said.