TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – After a wave of crimes against Asian American citizens last year, Toledoans come together to condemn hatred and celebrate Asian culture. Toledo’s first Asian Heritage Festival was a sold-out success on Saturday in Bombay Kitchen, Monroe.
“For us Americans it is important to preserve our heritage and still be proud of the heritage of the Asian Americans,” says Peter Jassal.
Peter owns Bombay Kitchen on Monroe with his wife Rita. They hosted the festival organized by Women of Toledo. Women-owned companies such as Bombay Kitchen attended the event.
“I am very happy to be a part of this Toledo because I thank you, thank the community for helping us, and I want to help all the other women. Women Power! “Says Rita, flexing her arm in a classic Rosie the Riveter pose while smiling.
“It is very important that we support each other, show love and show kindness. And keep showing local businesses and women-owned businesses, ”said Nina Corder, executive director of Women of Toledo.
There was music, dancing, loudspeakers and of course food. Cultures from India to Japan to China were represented. The theme of the day was unity and diversity, a point illustrated with a group mural and a statement denouncing hatred.
“We have an official statement that we have invited people to sign about anti-Asian hatred and we just want to bring more inclusiveness to our community here,” says Elijah Lee of the City of Toledo’s Human Relations Commission.
After the rise in crimes against Asian Americans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the women of Toledo felt it was especially important to celebrate Asian Americans this year. The Toledoans want to send a clear message that hatred has no place in this city.
“Sometimes I worry about the safety of my own family when we go out, but it’s nice that we have events like this to really bring this community together,” says Khalan Lee.
Lee’s mother owns Kay’s Table, a restaurant that will be featured at the festival. Khalan ran the table while her mother worked in the restaurant.
The festival had to keep the numbers small. Only 50 people were allowed at a time. However, there were three meetings that were attended by a total of 150 people.
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