News & Politics

A Massive Asian-American Led Protest Is Happening Saturday. Here’s What You Need to Know

The Unity March hopes to draw attention to violence and discrimination against the AAPI community.

A view of the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool from the Lincoln Memorial. Photo courtesy of Flickr user, Wally Gobetz.

Thousands of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will hit the National Mall for the Unity March this Saturday. More than 50 Asian American advocacy organizations and multicultural groups will lead the event, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, Gold House, and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans. The NAACP, SEIU, and other groups that represent historically marginalized communities will also participate.

The Unity March has been in the making since last summer—just a few months after six Asian women were murdered at three Atlanta massage parlors in March 2021. While discrimination against Asian Americans has risen dramatically since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic—nearly 11,000 hate incidents were reported to the Stop AAPI Hate coalition between March 19, 2020, and December 31, 2021—the anti-Asian sentiment amongst Americans is nothing new. From the 19th-century Chinese Exclusion Act to the racially motived murder of Vincent Chin in 1982 to the Los Angeles riots ten years later, the Asian American community is still underinvested in, ignored, and underrepresented, says Raymond Partolan, the national field director for Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote. “All of these historic events have forced us to confront our country’s deepest wounds and sharpest divisions,” Partolan said. “Coming together will offer us a chance to recommit to one another and hopefully begin a healing process that’s long overdue.”

The organizers hope the march will grab the attention of legislators and push for increased safety, representation, and civic participation for the AAPI community and other racial groups. “For far too long, our nation’s leaders have been stalling on long-term, sustainable actions that can advance meaningful change for Asian American and other historically excluded communities,” Partolan said. “We want to mobilize Asian Americans and allies to collectively demand our nation’s leaders to take necessary and overdue steps to ensure the safety, security, and prosperity for all of our communities.”

Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s march.

When and where is it?

Attendees can start gathering on Madison Drive between Fourth and Seventh streets, Northwest, for a rally at noon on Saturday. The gathering will include a speaker program with performers and leaders, then the crowd will begin marching toward the Washington Monument around 3:30 PM .

How can I get there?

The march and rally will be contained to the National Mall, and public transportation will be the easiest way to the gathering space. You can use the Archives-Navy Memorial, Federal Triangle, Smithsonian, L’Enfant Plaza, and Federal Center SW stations to access the area.

Who will speak?

You can expect remarks from civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, award-winning journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas, trans rights activist Geena Rocero, and hate crime survivor Esther Lee. R&B singer Thuy and pop soul singer KHA are also scheduled to perform.

How many people are expected to attend?

According to a press statement released by the organizers in May, around 15,000 people. But a permit application to the National Park Service says the organizers have prepared for a maximum attendance of 50,000 people.

I can’t attend. How can I support the Asian-American community?

The rally and march will be live-streamed by various partner organizations. Partolan also encourages both attendees and non-attendees to register to vote, sign up to plan a voter registration event, or encourage three people to vote in this year’s midterm elections on November 8.

Damare Baker
Research Editor

Before becoming Research Editor, Damare Baker was an Editorial Fellow and Assistant Editor for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.