“STOP THE HATE!” is the demand being heard throughout the nation as people of Asian and Pacific Island descent (AAPI) and allies call on communities and the government to recognize the growing problem of Anti-Asian sentiments and violence.
By Chasity Jennings-Nuñez
On March 20, the City of San Gabriel joined cities all over the country with a candlelight vigil, standing up to hate. Organized by San Gabriel Vice Mayor Tony Ding, the I-Chinese American Political Action Committee (I-APAC), Asian American Advocacy Alliance (AAAA), and Chinese American Equalization Association (HQH), the event was a visible show of solidarity and support. State Representative Ed Chau, San Gabriel’s Mayor Chin Ho Liao, Vice-Mayor Tony Ding, Councilmembers Denise Menchaca and Jason Pu were present along with members of San Gabriel’s newly formed Human Equity, Access and Relations (HEAR) Commission. Every speaker passionately demanded an end to the violence, calling on Asian residents who are victim of crimes or racial slurs and discrimination, to report them. According to a report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State University, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 149% in the largest American cities, even while overall hate crimes slightly decreased in 2020. Councilman Ding, said:
They think that Asian people are a quiet people. We cannot be silent. We have to stand up and let our voice come out and let the community know we have to stop Asian hate crimes.
At least 200 people gathered peacefully, wearing facemasks, on the plaza in front of the Mission Playhouse. Mayor Liao was encouraged by the strong turnout. It represented not only solidarity with allies from non-Asian groups, but solidarity within the Asian community. He acknowledges that the ethnic diversity within the Asian community- different countries of origin, cultures and languages, has in the past presented challenges to bringing the community together. “But tonight, we see people from all different parts of the community and it proves that WE WILL fight this and we are going to win!” said Liao. He proudly spoke about a new initiative in the city. About fifty San Gabriel community members have volunteered to create a citizens’ watch group. They are working with the SGPD to protect the community and encourage reporting of incidents with “See Something, Say Something” as the mantra.
Just as the horrific killing of George Floyd galvanized the movement for justice and the Black Lives Matter movement, the senseless killing of Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Daoyou Feng, Yong Ae Yue, Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park and Suncha Kim, eight innocent people in Atlanta, has ignited a call to Stop the Hate against Asian and Pacific Islanders. Councilman Pu wants us to remember them. “Today is day of remembrance. It’s a day of sadness, a day of anger. It’s a day of standing up and speaking out. It is a day of solidarity and strength.”
The land of racial, ethnic and religious diversity
America has been a land of racial, ethnic and religious diversity since its formation. Despite the interwoven histories of minority groups and invaluable contributions to the success of our country, individual minority groups are still fighting to live free of racism and discrimination. “In the past they tried to divide us, but now we are coalition building and together we are much stronger. Today it is our Asian family, tomorrow it could be our LGBTQ, it could be our Black, brown, Muslim, brothers and sisters. Not long ago, we [Mexicans] were called murderers and rapists. That has to stop!” said Councilwoman Menchaca, San Gabriel’s past mayor and first Latina mayor.
Hate is a virus. Love is the vaccine
Demonstrations to #StopAsianHate are planned throughout the area. On Friday, March 26th at 4:00 pm, there will be a march from the San Gabriel City Hall to the Alhambra City Hall, sponsored by the Alhambra Teachers Association. To find other resources and ways to participate, visit Anti-Asian Violence Resource .
Creating a country that allows everyone to contribute to their full potential, regardless of race and ethnicity, is the only way to move forward with success. As Ding stated “Hate is a virus. Love is the vaccine.”
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