Ram Gupta, 10, of Westport, at the recent Diwali celebration organized by AAPI Westport. / Jarret Liotta file photo

WESTPORT — A group that emerged earlier this year in reaction to a rise in violence and racism directed toward people of Asian heritage, has been formally established as an advocacy group “to foster a sense of belonging within our community.”

AAPI Westport, in a statement announcing its formation this week, said part of its mission will be to increase the visibility and awareness of the Asian American Pacific Islander community “in Westport and beyond.”

The group has also posted a website — AAPIWestport.com — to help promote its mission and activities.

Last week’s local observance of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is one of the group’s recent programs designed to spread understanding of Asian culture and traditions.

Organizers say they are “local moms committed to educating others about Asian American Pacific Islander history and experiences,” according to the group’s statement. “By doing so, our goal is to create an environment where our children feel proud of their heritage.”

AAPI leaders said they are looking for new members to support new group be volunteering or donating financial support.

For more information, email AAPIWestport@gmail.com, visit the website or follow the group in Instagram @AAPIWestport.