Following a spate of deadly attacks on Asian Americans around the country over the past few weeks, hundreds of students from a number of California colleges attended rallies on Saturday to condemn the violence and racism taking place in the country’s largest hub of Asian residents.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at a “Stop Asian Hate” candlelight vigil in Alhambra to honor the lives lost in the shooting rampage.
Today, I was proud to join residents of Diamond Bar to stand against anti-Asian racism. California is the most diverse state in the country — we only are strong if we use our voices and stand up for each other and confront hatred and violence. #StopAAPIHate pic.twitter.com/F4mMGtKe0q
— Senator Josh Newman (@JoshNewmanCA) March 22, 2021
“We will not be silent against gun violence,” vigil organizer Betty Hang wrote on Facebook.
Protesters gathered on Saturday holding placards with messages such as “We are NOT a Virus,” “Stop Asian Hate,” and “Say No to Violence.” Some painted butterflies while others sang songs to console each other.
The Korean American Federation of Los Angeles hosted another car caravan on Friday to protest the surge in violent attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the state.
Although racism and hate crimes have historically been a problem in California, things escalated last year after former President Donald Trump blamed the ongoing pandemic on China.
With the coronavirus bringing the country to a standstill, nearly 3,800 Asian Americans have reportedly been victims of racist hate in one way or another according to a report by Stop AAPI Hate, a group formed last year to raise awareness.
The group says the numbers reported are only a fraction of the actual number of incidents that have occurred, illustrating the current state of vulnerability Asian Americans are under.
‘What the Hell Is Wrong With Us?’
Worried about the growing xenophobia in the state, governor Gavin Newsom on Friday called out the “quiet perpetrators” of anti-Asian hate, exclaiming “What the hell is wrong with us?”
“That’s San Francisco’s scar, that’s the state’s scar, that’s our nation’s scar,” he said.
Although students and faculty on most campuses have not been affected by the growing tide of racist attacks, many schools are now offering programs to confront anti-Asian racism and xenophobia. The University of California, San Francisco, for instance, offers full-fledged training on diversity and inclusion through their Anti-Racism Initiative to “dismantle structural racism and the impact of bias.”