PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- After the murder of George Floyd, Blasian Solidarity, a local grass roots effort for racial harmony started to blossom.
It began with a small group of women gathering monthly at Black and Asian-owned businesses to discuss the relationship between the two groups.
With good food as a connector, they had challenging conversations and confronted the biases in their own communities.
Then last November, a video went viral of four Black female students on SEPTA bullying a group of Asian teens. When 18-year-old Christina Lu stepped to their defense, she was brutally beaten to the point of hospitalization
The Black students, ages 13-16, were charged with ethnic intimidation.
And the Blasian Solidarity group realized they needed to take their efforts to the next level.
Last month they staged a sold-out event at REC Philly, a space with resources for creators.
Called All in Family, the event was a celebration of Blasian joy, with food, music and art the platform for cultivating racial solidarity.
That was the philosophy behind this year's Cherry Blossom Festival.
Historically it's been a celebration of traditional Japanese culture behind the ticketed walls of the Shofuso Japanese house and Garden.
This year, for the first time ever, it was a celebration of Asian and Black culture.
The Japan American Society, which operates Shofuso, has also created a partnership with residents in the predominantly Black community of Parkside.
They've expanded the programming to be more inclusive of the community that surrounds Shofuso. That includes offering free Taiko drum workshops every Saturday afternoon.
With the Blasian Solidarity group, there was a strong focus on finding the fun first, with the hopes that hard conversations could then more easily follow.
The group is making plans for its next big event, a barbecue this summer.
Blasian Solidarity Group | Instagram
Shofuso Japanese House & Garden Taiko workshops | Website | Taiko Reservations |Facebook |Instagram
Saturdays, 1:30pm-3:30pm on the grounds of the Horticulture Center.
Lansdowne Dr & Horticultural Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19131