SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) –With April 1 marking the first day of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month at Syracuse University, the Office of Multicultural Affairs will be opening their anti-hate exhibit. The exhibit focuses on a 1997 incident at a Denny’s in Syracuse, when six Asian American students and one white student claimed they were denied service and beaten in a parking lot.
Though a judge later ruled that the Denny’s didn’t violate any of the students’ civil rights, the incident is one of many crimes against Asian Americans.
Crimes against Asian Americans have been in recent news, specifically a shooting in Atlanta on March 16 that killed six Asian women. Along with this shooting, the increase in crimes against Asian Americans since the start of the new year has been troubling.
Associate Director in the Office of Multicultural Affairs Huey Hsiao said that hate against Asian Americans hasn’t disappeared in the country.
“It’s a big deal because there’s a lot more attention. This is a different age, right? There’s more social media,” Hsiao said. “Social media is here. There’s a lot more attention on it, for good and bad, right?”
The exhibit has been put on display for the last ten years, but every year it takes on new meaning.
The exhibit features letters from students, newspaper articles from outlets such as CNN and the Daily Orange, and more. An important yet troubling section of the exhibit shows other incidents regarding the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Despite it being an uncomfortable read for some, the importance of the stories is at an all time high in terms of newsworthiness.
Another one of the exhibit’s panels features the ways in which people can be victims, ally’s, perpetrators and bystanders. In order to stop Asian American discrimination, learning these terms and understanding how they apply are essential.
Hsiao said Asian American hate is not a new concept in the United States.
“It’s been around since the first Asian American came to the country,” Hsiao said.
Hsiao also added that due to recent events, he feels Asian American hate has come to the spotlight.
“Come to the forefront is a good way to put it because I think in a way, it’s been in the background of people’s minds, but it hasn’t been new,” Hsiao said.
The exhibit will be open for the month of April in Bird Library.