An approximately two-hour rally to raise awareness of rising violence against the Asian Pacific Islander community was held at Los Angeles State Historic Park adjacent to Chinatown.
“I’m fed up with the elders and the most vulnerable in our society being attacked merely for the way that they look,” entrepreneur Young-Jin Yang told the crowd he estimated at about 300 on Saturday.
The “Rally Against Anti-Asian Hate Crimes & Racism” was organized by Stand For Asians In Solidarity, which describes itself as “an informal nonpartisan grassroots human rights committee with the purpose of raising awareness of continuing anti-Asian violence and to support and address the needs of the AAPI community.”
Yang told City News Service the catalyst in organizing the rally was the viral video that circulated on social media of last month’s fatal assault of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old immigrant from Thailand, in San Francisco.
Nationwide, there have been more than 3,000 reported anti-Asian Pacific Islander hate incidents in the past year, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus said at a virtual news conference Friday to condemn the recent spike in anti-Asian hate crimes and violence.
Some at Saturday’s rally said the attacks often stem from some people who have mistakenly linked the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to the Asian community.
“Racist rhetoric from the pandemic has targeted us for being the reason for coronavirus,” actor Daniel Wu told the crowd.
Activist Kelly Mac agreed.
“It doesn’t matter what shade your skin is,” she said. “What matters is how we treat one another. For us to have been targeted recently, it was unjustified. It was uncalled for. Most people think Asians are responsible for the coronavirus … and that is far from the truth.”
Those who gathered Saturday said they came to represent their parents and grandparents, many of whom are afraid to report attacks or other violence against themselves or their friends to law enforcement.
“This is wrong and we need to say something,” Yang said. “We are begging you to please acknowledge that these things are happening and please say something. Give us an opportunity so that our future generations will be seen as an equal human being.”
People have “more power than you think you do,” Yang said.
“All it takes is to share a post and to speak up when you see something is wrong,” Yang said.
Yang encouraged people to share cellphone videos of hate crimes they witness against all people.
“As (Martin Luther King Jr.) said `Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,”’ Yang said. “We must stand up for each other. This is not a group versus Asians. This is not white versus Latino. This is not any community against another community.
“This is about us as the human race against hate and we must show solidarity against all those people, we must keep all of our own people accountable because at the end of the day all we are asking for is the opportunity for equal rights and to be seen as human beings and not be characterized as a generalization.
“To all the people that are here today and the people that are watching on television please speak up. Please report what you see because we are suffering in silence and we cannot suffer in silence any more.”
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