By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent
Mona Chang and her eight-year-old son stood socially distant from an estimated crowd of 750 protesters in San Francisco Saturday at the “They Can’t Burn Us All” rally against anti-Asian hate.
“I came to show him discrimination is not OK,” Chang told AsAmNews about why she brought her son. “Racism is not OK. There’s not enough support for us,” referencing her Asian American community.
The demonstration organized by rapper China Mac and activist William Lex Ham is the fourth in a series of rallies that started in Brooklyn and then expanded to Manhattan, Los Angeles and now San Francisco to express anger at the xenophobia and racism facing Asian Americans across the country. The rally against anti-Asian hate in San Francisco was by far the largest of the four rallies so far.
Chris Quan along with her 7-year old daughter and 2-year old napping in a stroller joined her friend Chang.
Quan says children are never too young to learn that racism is wrong and that people need to speak up about it.
Quan and Chang’s children were by far the youngest of the demonstrators which were made up of mostly Asians in their 20’s,30’s and 40’s along with small groups of senior citizens as well as Whites and Blacks.
“Show us what our community looks like,” Ham screamed to the crowd through a loudspeaker.
“This is what our community looks like,” the crowd responded outside San Francisco City Hall.
Ham emphasized that fighting for Asian rights and Black Lives Matter are not mutually exclusive. He said the They Can’t Burn Us All movement would not have happened without the struggle for Black Lives Matter.
The “They Can’t Burn Us All” Movement came about after two teens set an 89-year old grandmother on fire. Her quick reaction saved her life and prevented serious injuries when she snuffed the fire out by rubbing her back against a brick wall. Police in New York arrested two 13 year olds in the case on misdemeanor assault in the third degree earlier this month.
“We need to come together. People are struggling,” he said to the applause of the crowd.
Sasanna Yee knows all too well the pain of losing someone to senseless violence. Her grandmother Yik Oi Huang died one year after being senselessly beaten by a 17-year old as she was exercising at the playground across from her San Francisco home.
Yee says her grandmother left that morning for her exercise routine and never made it home.
“We all need to give each other love,” Yee told the crowd. She asked the crowd to repeat her grandmother’s name along with the names of Brionna Taylor, George Floyd and others who died at the hands of the police.
She said her grandmother was a victim, but so was the 17-year old suspect arrested in the case and who will never get his life back. She says Keonte Gathron is a victim of social and economic inequalities.
After she spoke, several of the Black demonstrators at the rally came to give Yee heartfelt hugs.
After the speeches, the rally opposing anti-Asian hate turned into a march and stretched a block long down the middle of Market Street in Downtown San Francisco.
It eventually ended in Chinatown.
China Mac has held fundraising drives to help struggling businesses in Manhattan Chinatown.
He pledged to AsAmNews that he would do the same in San Francisco.
“The people are going to get together and find a way,” he said. “We can come together to protect our people.”
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