Kansas City’s Asian-American Community Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV5) – Surrounded by people from all walks of life, Kansas Citians gathered in Columbus Park on Saturday afternoon to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month.

“I want to have a place where I feel like I belong, and I know other people might feel that way too,” said Jackie Nguyen, owner and event organizer of Café Ca Phe. “I honestly do these events sometimes selfishly because I want my friends to come together, and I want my friends to feel seen and heard. So it’s not a burden, it’s an honor.

Since the pandemic, Asian Americans have reported hate crimes at alarming rates.

A recent study found that anti-Asian violence and harassment rose 342% in major US cities last year.

“I want her to know when she gets old, to know her origins,” said My Phuong Wong, an attendee at the event. “Kindly let him know how his family is doing and what we’ve been through.”

Wong’s family are refugees from Vietnam. She said events like today make her culture accessible.

“We all love people and are very friendly and caring,” Wong said. “Very approachable people. »

It’s a contrast to the ongoing violence against Asian Americans.

Most recently, 3 shootings at Asian-run businesses in Dallas. The FBI is investigating at least one as a possible hate crime.

“Even though we’re not talking about hate crimes or other offences,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “We have an important role to play in making sure we have a community that knows it is supported, can grow here and can be encouraged here.”

Nguyen said this celebration is a step in that direction.

“If we make the people who live here aware that we exist within the community,” she said. “We pay taxes, we’re doctors, we’re nurses, we’re part of the Kansas City community, I think we’ll feel less invisible.”

Café Ca Phe plans to open a brick-and-mortar store this summer and continue to promote community events similar to Saturday’s AAPI celebration.

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