Rebroadcast — In Focus: Stopping anti-Asian American hate in Minnesota

A group of people on a video call together
(From top left) MPR News host Tom Crann, professor Erika Lee, chef Yia Vang, strategy consultant Wayne Kangas, and Bo Thao-Urabe, executive and network director of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders participate in a panel discussion about anti-Asian racism in Minnesota.
Screenshot from MPR News

There was a public outcry across the United States in response to the mass shooting in Atlanta in March, but this shooting wasn’t an isolated incident affecting Asian Americans. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people from the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have faced a rising wave of violence and hate, and many are feeling vulnerable and marginalized.

Now, activists across the country — including in Minnesota — are rallying to fight racism against Asian Americans. They say discrimination against the AAPI community is, unfortunately, nothing new. 

What are we doing in Minnesota to stop anti-Asian American hate, and what more needs to be done? What should we do to be better allies to our Asian American neighbors? How has political rhetoric during the pandemic exacerbated anti-Asian hate?

This week, we revisited recent conversations we’ve had about Minnesota’s persistent racial disparities. To end the week, we returned to a panel discussion from April hosted by Tom Crann.

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To watch a video recording of the conversation, read an audience Q&A with panelist Wayne Kangas and explore related resources from the event, check out the original In Focus post here.


  • Bo Thao-Urabe is the executive and network director of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders.

  • Wayne Kangas is a strategy consultant living in northeastern Minnesota.

  • Yia Vang is MSP Magazine's “Chef of the Year 2019" and the host of TPT’s Relish series.

  • Erika Lee is a Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies and the director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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MPR News’ In Focus is a series of convenings we are committed to leading on Minnesota’s persistent racial disparities. Through conversations with community leaders that are shaped by our curious, engaged audience, MPR News hopes to encourage new connections and relationships that will help Minnesota communities make progress toward equity and inclusion.

Editor’s note: This program originally aired in April 2021 and was rebroadcast on May 14.