Multiple "Stop Asian Hate" rallies held in Los Angeles area
Multiple rallies were held Saturday around Los Angeles, one of the US metropolitan areas with large Asian populations, against the troubling surge of anti-Asian racism and violence in the country.
In Koreatown, a community in Los Angeles downtown, hundreds of people joined a "Stop Asian Hate" solidarity march, which was led by a group of youths playing traditional Korean drums that symbolized a storm of thunder and lightning.
The marchers, all wearing masks and keeping social distance in accordance with orders from the health care authority, carried handmade signs such as "Stop Killing Asians," "Keep My Grandma Safe!" "Enough is Enough" and "Hate is a Virus."
Many activists, community leaders and local politicians shared personal experiences of being bullied, scapegoated and discriminated against, noting the hate crimes against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities had been increasing sharply since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year.
"We need to continue to be loud and stand together to stop hate crimes," Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said at the rally. "Now is not the time to be silent, let's continue to support each other and speak out against hate."
Many speakers said people were not only in solidarity for the AAPI community, but also the Black and Latin communities as well.
California Assembly Member Miguel Santiago called on all Angelinos to stand up against racism and discrimination "no matter who you believe, where you come from and documented or undocumented."
"We are joining together, walking hand in hand, marching and telling 'stop it' and 'today we will not tolerate it'," Santiago said.
According to the 2010 Census, among all American cities and communities, Los Angeles is home to the largest populations of Korean, Filipino, and Thai descent. It is also home to the largest population of Japanese descent in the continental United States, while Long Beach, a city about 40 km south of downtown Los Angeles, is home to the largest population of Cambodian descent.
The 2011-2015 American Community Survey showed that the Los Angeles area is home to the second largest population of Chinese descent in the country. Ten cities in the San Gabriel Valley have a population of Chinese descent making up 30 percent or more of their total population.
Monterey Park is one of the 10 cities, where 49 percent of residents are Chinese. In the city, 20 km east of downtown Los Angeles, a community vigil was held Saturday night, denouncing "violence against Asian Americans, misogyny, classism, racism and white supremacy."
In West Hollywood, other "Stop Asian Hate" rally was held and was joined by hundreds of local activists.
"It does affect everybody. It doesn't matter if you're Asian, Black or Hispanic, we may be different in ethnicity or nationality, but what we're all fighting against is racism," Conrad Pratt, an attendee told local KTLA news channel.
Other dozens of rallies were held in Los Angeles City Hall, Chinatown of Los Angeles downtown, and many communities in the Southern California region, calling for the end of anti-Asian hate across the United States.
The issue of racial discrimination once again rattled Asian communities in the country after recent shootings saw eight deaths at spas in the Atlanta area, six of whom were Asian women.
Since coronavirus shutdowns began last March, thousands of Asian Americans have reported experiencing racist verbal and physical attacks, according to a recent report by Stop AAPI Hate, a leading nonprofit social organization tracking incidents of discrimination, hate and xenophobia against Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
In Los Angeles County alone, there had been nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes since the beginning of the pandemic, the report found.
Saturday's events in Los Angeles were part of a national day of action across the nation, with similar rallies taking place in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon, Queens in New York City and Seattle.