Rabecca Shin, members, and contributors of mulit-cultural festival “Rise Up” stand together on the steps of the War Memorial Building and Legislative Plaza. Photo by Alison Decker

By Alison Decker

NASHVILLE, TN —The Korean American Association of Greater Nashville held a festival Saturday, August 27 to commemorate 77 years since the end of the Second World War and to celebrate Korea-US relations, and promote peace among all peoples at the War Memorial Building and Legislative Plaza. 

Rabecca Shin, president of The Korean American Association of Nashville said, “The cross presented during ceremony represents country communications between people, promotes peace and harmony in our hearts. We long for more people to know we are a peaceful community.”

The festival began with a sign held by Shin and escorted by a Metro Police officer across the War Memorial Building and Legislative Plaza that read “Stop Asian Hate.” A cross to represent the fallen soldiers in battle was staked in the ground adjacent to the sign. Speeches were read on behalf of Governor Bill Lee, American Red Cross representative, Mathew Carlton, and Chinese Dignitaries. Gift certificates for LG Electronics were presented along with 14 washing machines donated by local non-profit organizations. The organizations involved included API of Middle Tennessee, Equity Alliance, American Red Cross, Nashville Center for Empowerment, Shin’s Martial Arts, and Korean Language School. 

Govern Bill Lee said, “It is my pleasure to welcome you to rise up together for a special time of fellowship with members of the Nashville community. I am proud to call each of you my fellow Tennesseans. I’m appreciative of events like these where we celebrate and reflect on the contributions we each make to the uniqueness and beauty of our state and in this city.”

According to the American Friends Service Committee, “From March 19, 2020 through December 31, 2021, there were a total of 10,905 hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) persons reported to Stop AAPI Hate. Asians of all ethnicities are being racially profiled, although Chinese Americans continue to report the most hate incidents (42. percent). Almost half of the hate incidents took place in public spaces, and women make up 61.8 percent of the overall reports.”

Multicultural festivals like “Rise Up” offer a look at the perspective of the Korean community, one rich in dance, music, food, martial arts and many others. The Korean American Association of Greater Nashville facilitates events throughout the year that honor the heritage of their community, and promote dialogue between people of all cultures and communities. 

Rabecca Shin said, “We would like to help our communities become more feasible and elevate our voice against racism and hate. This opportunity allows us to present diverse cultural performances to showcase wonderful traditions. This festival will promote dialogue and cross-cultural awareness that is so important in our communities today.”