ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Hundreds of people gathered at the India Community Center in Rochester Saturday to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander month, better known as AAPI.

This was the first ever upstate AAPI Summit and was hosted by Senator Jeremy Cooney.

Workshops were held and discussed the impacts of discrimination, organizing upstate communities, and economic empowerment.

Conversations that organizers say are at times difficult but also necessary.

“We recognize that since the pandemic there’s been a lot of discrimination and Asian hate,” Senator Cooney said. “Not just in New York State but across the country. This summit recognizes that. We’ve been talking about resources with the Attorney General’s office. But this is a positive summit. We’re talking about the positive contributions that Asian Americans make. Especially during AAPI heritage month.”

The event did focus particularly on mental health and shared experiences during the pandemic. Offering both resources for those challenges, as well as proposed solutions.