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Community condemns anti-Asian hate in San Francisco

By Isabelle Roetcisoender

A gathering of people rallied at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco Sunday to oppose anti-Asian hate in a show of community-oriented solutions. The Coalition for Community Safety and Justice hosted the event known as, Love Our People, Heal Our Communities.

The CCSJ demonstration Sunday paralleled the Oakland vigil of the same name on Saturday. CCSJ organizations include the Chinese Progressive Association, Chinese for Affirmative Action, the Community Youth Center of San Francisco and the New Breath Foundation.

The rally of about 100 people opened with acknowledging the recent attacks and deaths in the Asian American community, such as the recent killing of Christian Hall of Pennsylvania, an 19-year-old Asian teen whose family say police gunned down while he had a mental health crisis. His family has called for a state investigation. The organizers asked attendees to remember their histories, their communities and their struggles which are all irrevocably intertwined.

“You look at history, the Chinese have always been blamed [since] the 1800s,” said Tim Wong, an attendee of the rally to AsAmNews. “It [isn’t] new. So, what they’re trying to bring up it’s just deep rooted in [our communities] from family to family. We’re taught to hate each other.”

Serene Hwang, another attendee, expressed her personal experiences with Anti-Asian discrimination from a young age and the reason for attendance.

Photo by Isabelle Roetcisoender

“I’m an immigrant. I came from Taiwan. The first initial introduction from teachers [was], ‘We have a new student. She came from Taiwan. Make her feel welcome.’ And that was an automatic target on my back […] ever since then I’ve just been wary about wherever I go and whatever I do and who I’m with as well.”

When asked why she chose to attend the vigil, Ms. Hwang said, “I’m here for the vigil because it’s important to me, especially as an Asian immigrant, that Asians all have to be in solidarity along with other sister communities as well to protect our elders and to make sure we’re all aware that this is an ongoing issue and we want to be heard by the communities.”

Photo by Isabelle Roetcisoender

Community attendees were encouraged to take part in activities at the event. One of these activities was known as Ribbons of Hope. The tree of red ribbons gave those in attendance the opportunity to offer their wishes and hopes for the community. Participants could write their wishes on a red ribbon and community organizers tied these wishes to the tree, which was symbolic of community healing, support and unity. Mental health services were also provided at the event in recognition of the effects of these difficult times on community well being.

Leaders of the Native American community at the rally expressed their solidarity with the Asian American community as San Francisco is unceded Ramaytush Ohlone land.

“If you’re not Ramaytush Ohlone you’re a guest of this land,” said Mariposa, a member of the Native American community who goes by they/them pronouns.

They also took the time to acknowledge missing murdered Indigenous peoples.  “Missing Murdered Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous women, girls, two spirits [are] a huge problem [around the world] and in [our] country.” Mariposa sang a song to honor the missing murdered Indigenous women, girls and two spirit peoples. They asked not to be recorded.

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