After a Year of Organizing Against Hate, Spokane AAPI Community Sharing Heritage, Culture

Jun 7, 2021

Hundreds in Spokane rallied against Anti-Asian hate at a vigil in March. Many of the organizers have gone on to plan a cultural event to help the community learn about Asian American and Pacific Islanders historic contributions to Spokane.
Credit Courtesy of Charity Doyl

After a year of organizing and activism against hate, Asian and Pacific Islanders in Spokane are coming together, this time to celebrate their culture and heritage.

Spokane’s Asian and Pacific Islander community has spent the last year working together, to support those who have been targeted, and those who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, said Charity Doyl, a Filipina and Southeast Indian organizer in Spokane.

“The Asian community, we’re divided by our language, by our culture and by our faiths, so trying to get us to come together and unite was something we have been trying to do. Unfortunately, it took attacks to our community for us to wake up, and say we have to do this.”

She said they have worked together to hold food drives and deliveries for the Marshallese community, which had the highest rate of COVID-19 due to longstanding health and economic disparities, and organized a vigil for the victims of the Atlanta shooting.

She said this June 12 event, which she is co-organizing with several other Asian and Pacific Islander activists,  is both a celebration, and a way to remind Spokane of the historic contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders.

“It was the Chinese who connected Spokane to the rest of the nation. The clock tower was built by the Chinese, and a lot of the Asian history has been erased, covered up, or just not talked about, so that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to talk about this.”

The AAPI Heritage celebration is scheduled at the CenterPlace West Lawn in Spokane Valley. There will be martial arts demonstrations, Bollywood dancing, art from local Asian and Pacific Islander artists, cultural heritage displays and traditional Asian and Pacific Islander foods.

The event is outdoor and attendees do not need to wear a mask if they are vaccinated.