Lantern ceremony in Montclair honors Asian community who faced violence and injustice

The event is meant to honor and remember those in the community who were killed or harmed by violence and injustice, including anti-Asian hate.

Joti Rekhi

May 19, 2024, 11:19 PM

Updated 24 days ago

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Hundreds of people gathered at Edgemont Memorial Park in Montclair for AAPI Montclair's annual Lantern Festival for Justice and Remembrance on Sunday Night.
The event is meant to honor and remember those in the community who were killed or harmed by violence and injustice, including anti-Asian hate.
Danielle Iwata is an AAPI New Jersey board member and one of the organizers of the event.
"The history of our Lantern Festival for Justice and Remembrance is rooted in a place of community and coming together to honor so many different lives that have been impacted by racialized violence is so important," said Iwata. "For me, as one of the organizers, to see the way the community comes together has been so inspiring and really gives me hope that we're able to forge this path forward together."
More than 2,000 lanterns illuminated the park as visitors were encouraged to reflect on what each represented. People could also dedicate a lantern to anyone who was harmed or killed by injustice, including anti-Asian hate and impacted by violence.
“It's obviously near and dear to our heart,” said John Kneeland, of Glen Ridge. “Every time my wife goes into the city, it gives me low grade heart burn thinking about the things that might happen to her because of all the Asian hate stuff going on. The community standing up and saying 'no more of that,' is really nice to see.”
The event, now in its fourth year, seeks to inspire, educate and transform the lived experiences of many attendees.
“It's one of the few times of the year where I feel like there are a lot of the Asian community all in one place,” said Chris Lin, of Glen Ridge. “There's not a high percentage of Asians in New Jersey where we live. It just feels like there's lots of us in one place, it really feels like community and special.”
The event also included live performances, food and drinks, and remarks from esteemed professionals.


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