Students Rally to Spread a Powerful Message

Students from the region gathered in front of HMHS on Saturday to speak out against acts of hatred against the AAPI community


Helene Usher, Editor

May is Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. In light of the recent racist violence against the Asian-American community, the Asian American Culture Club organized a rally in front of HMHS on Saturday, May 22.

From 11 am to 1 pm, high school students from Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Gloucester County Institute of Technology, and Cherry Hill made posters for the event, used chalk to decorate the sidewalk near the flag pole, and had a quick lunch. The posters consisted of messages such as “Hate is Not a Virus,” “Stop Asian Hate,” and “Asian isn’t a virus. Hate is.” After the poster-making, dozens of students, of families, and community members arrived for the rally itself.

During the rally, several students from local schools with Asian heritage delivered powerful speeches. They shared their experiences with racism, expressed their anger at the attacks on their community, and encouraged everyone to listen to their stories and support them.

Students from HMHS who spoke included juniors Mia Gagliardi and Joshua King, and sophomores Tina Tian, Annie Baxter, and Rania Kolluri. There were also two speakers from Haddon Heights, one from the Gloucester County Institute of Technology, and one from Cherry Hill East.

After the speeches, the Asian American Culture Club sold lawn signs and wristbands for Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that helps families who were victims of hate crimes.

“I thought [the rally] went really well. It went smoothly and we raised a lot of money for the organization” Mia Gagliardi, one of the event organizers, said. “We will definitely try to incorporate more AAPI education into lessons for the school…The Asian American Culture Club would like to thank everyone who came out to support and the people who helped organize it” she continued. As an attendee, I agree with Mia wholeheartedly. The rally had a huge impact on not only me, but the people around me, and it inspired us to take action moving forward.