A local organization is working to add South Asians living in Bloomington-Normal to the conversation on equality and acceptance.
Not In Our Town held a rally at Illinois Wesleyan University Thursday night following violence against multiple Indian men across the U.S.
Steering Committee Member Archana Shekara emceed the rally with her daughter Aishwarya. Shekara said South Asians are shy to come forward but need to become involved.
"We need to speak up, we need to tell our stories just like everyone else," said Shekara. "I feel like today is the first time in our community that we, South Asians, came forward and shared our stories."
Shekara said Bloomington-Normal should be one big family.
Not In Our Town Leader Mike Matejka said the South Asian population of the Twin Cities deserves to feel welcome.
Matejka had praise for the high school students who spoke up at the rally. He credited them for being engaged in the fight for equality.
"It's very important that they knows people have their back," said Matejka. "That people care about them and people see them as part of our community."
Approximately 150 people attended the rally.