Students to Hold Pleasantville Event to Help Fight Hate Against Asian Americans

Raghav Joshi may only be 16 years old but he’s seen more of the world than many people decades older than him.

Born in New Delhi, India, he’s already lived in six different countries, including Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Mauritius and for the last three-and-a-half years in the United States, moving with his parents multiple times because of their work in the corporate world.

But it has been at Blind Brook High School in Rye Brook where he has found his voice, becoming a self-described activist and standing up for those who he feels have been marginalized.

“When I got here, this country is one of the few countries where you can have a voice and you can really make a difference even if you’re an immigrant, a 16-year-old at a small school in Westchester County,” Joshi said.

He has used his resolve to help organize Westchester Against AAPI Hate this Sunday, Apr. 18 in Pleasantville. The event will be held at 1 p.m. on Memorial Plaza by the gazebo and will feature various guest speakers, including congressional representatives Mondaire Jones and Sean Patrick Maloney and County Executive George Latimer, who will address the rash of attacks across the nation against Asian Americans.

Joshi said as an immigrant who has experienced more subtle forms of bias in his travels, he said he is committed to advocating for the Asian American Pacific Island community, particularly since the sharp rise in attacks after the start of the pandemic.

“We’re going to have officials speak, what they’re going to do with the issue, what they’re going to do right now and, obviously, we’re going to have a lot of AAPI students, a lot of youth activists, the future of this movement, and have the current leaders of this movement right now in this area,” Joshi said. “This is to kind of show our story. This is really to get our voice across to tell people what we’ve done.”

Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer said when Joshi approached the village, there was no hesitation to help combat a serious and disturbing issue facing the United States. The main concern is making sure everyone who attends maintains safe social distancing, he said.

“We have the obligation as well as the intent to help people shine a light on these kinds of issues,” Scherer said.