By Juli McDonald

BOSTON (CBS) – Many families were on Boston Common Monday, standing in solidarity against Asian hate. The recent rise in violence fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic weighs heavily on their minds and hearts, as they’re forced to have painful conversations.

“When she’s at a playground and someone calls her the China virus or tells her doesn’t belong, that she understands how to stand up for herself and understands to be proud of who she is,” Tien-Tien Chan said. “Having a young child makes it so important to raise [her] with empathy, compassion, and with a lot of pride in being Asian American.”

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These activists and neighbors want to see more Asian American history in our schools – lessons that reflect tremendous sacrifice and contributions. A local teacher told WBZ she’s struggled with her Irish/Chinese identity – but feels immense pride for family’s service to this country.

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“He came to this country and fought in WWII. He was US Army veteran and he was just awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. I know he is looking down on us today and really proud of me and my family for being here,” said Alison Ning, of her late grandfather George.

Beyond condemning racism, organizers also called the crowd to support minority owned businesses.. and to seek and celebrate the ways our Asian neighbors strengthen our community.

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“All these people out here today, we’re all doing this together,” said Justin Ford. “People of all difference races and stuff. It’s beautiful. It gives me hope.”

Juli McDonald