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News of Otsego County

otsego rally for solidarity with asian americans

Hundreds Attend Rally To Protest Crimes Against Asian People

Hundreds Attend Rally In Rain To
Protest Crimes Against Asian People

By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The Agostino family displays its signs Sunday, May 2, at the Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans at the Otsego County Courthouse in Cooperstown. (Greg Klein/AllOTSEGO.com)

About 250 people attended a rally Sunday, May 2, at the Otsego County Courthouse, to support the community’s Asian American and Pacific Island residents.

The “Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans” was organized and run by a group of Cooperstown Central School freshmen, including 15-year-old Cate Bohler, who said she wanted to speak up to support her friends or anyone who is being harassed.

“As a young Asian-American girl, hearing people call COVID the China virus is hurtful,” Bohler said, reading from her prepared statement about why she wanted to stage the rally. “It is more than hurtful. It is harmful. It perpetuates anti-American sentiments and racism.”

Speakers included the students, as well as local officials, including Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavalieri, Otsego Town Supervisor Meg Kiernan and Otsego County Rep. Danny Lapin, D-Oneonta, who said he thinks he is the county’s only elected official of Asian descent. Lapin’s mom is Japanese.

“The deep-seated nature of systemic racism requires us to make continuous choices and take continuous actions to advance anti-racist ideas in the public space,” Lapin said.

LWV applauds girls who planned Asian rally

LETTER from LIANE HIRABAYASHI

LWV applauds girls
who planned Asian rally

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area would like to applaud Jaina Bischof, Cate Bohler, Charlotte Feury, Riley Fillion, Elizabeth Hughes, Olivia Lowenguth, Maya Pandit, who, with the support of their families and friends, organized the Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans on Sunday, May 2, in Cooperstown. These students’ activism is fully aligned with the League of Women Voters’ goal to create a stronger, more inclusive democracy.

Such outstanding civic leadership and teamwork is an inspiration to all of us to commit ourselves to combating racism through character, intelligence, and compassion. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child; in this case it is these teenagers who have raised the Village of Cooperstown to a new level of community engagement with this highly charged issue. With the shining example of these students to light our way, let us continue this important and good work of making Cooperstown, as Dr. Namita Singh put it so well in her speech at the rally, the “all-American village” of this century: one that celebrates our nation’s diverse cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious roots and on these strong foundations remains a thriving, vibrant community.

Liane Hirabayashi
Co-president, Cooperstown Area League of Women Voters

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