Celebrating diversity at Toledo’s first Asian Heritage Festival

Updated: May. 23, 2021 at 12:16 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - After a wave of crimes against Asian-Americans over the last year, Toledoans are coming together to condemn hatred and celebrate Asian culture. Toledo’s first Asian Heritage Festival was a sold-out success on Saturday at Bombay Kitchen on Monroe.

“It is important for us, as Americans, to maintain our heritage and still stay proud of the heritage being Asian Americans,” says Peter Jassal.

Peter owns Bombay Kitchen on Monroe with his wife, Rita. They hosted the festival, which was organized by Women of Toledo. The event featured women-owned businesses, like Bombay Kitchen.

“I am very pleased to be a part of this Toledo, because thank you guys, thank you to the community for helping us out and I want to help all the other women. Women power!” says Rita, flexing her arm in a classic Rosie the Riveter stance while smiling.

“It’s very important that we support each other, show love and show kindness. And continue to show local and shop women-owned businesses,” says Nina Corder, managing director of Women of Toledo.

There was music, dancing, speakers, and of course, food. Cultures from India to Japan to China were represented. The theme of the day was unity and diversity, a point illustrated with a group mural painting and a statement denouncing hate.

“We have an official statement that we’ve been inviting people to sign about anti-Asian hate, and we just want to bring more inclusivity to our community, here,” says Elijah Lee with the City of Toledo’s Human Relations Commission.

After the increase in crimes against Asian Americans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Women of Toledo thought it was especially important to celebrate Asian Americans this year. Toledoans want to send a clear message that hate has no place in this city.

“Sometimes I worry about my own family’s safety when we go out, but it’s nice that we have events like these to really bring this community together,” says Khalan Lee.

Lee’s mother owns Kay’s Table, a restaurant featured at the festival. Khalan ran the table while her mother worked at the restaurant.

the festival had to keep numbers small. Only 50 people were allowed at a time. But there were three sessions, allowing a total of 150 people to attend.

Copyright 2021 WTVG. All rights reserved.