Photo courtesy of Eric J. Chang
By Eric J. Chang
More than 2,000 demonstrators carrying homemade signs gathered on Sunday, March 21, at San Jose City Hall to highlight the rise in violence against Asian Americans. The demonstration took place just days after a shooting spree in Atlanta on March 16, left eight people dead, including six Asian women.
Less than a day after the murders in Atlanta, Adam Juratovac, a lawyer in San Jose (and my former high school wrestling teammate), told me that he was frustrated and that he wanted to organize a rally in San Jose for that upcoming Sunday, only four days away.
I agreed to help.
Soon, Juratovac was on his TikTok live and voicing his frustration. Within hours, the TikTok community began to galvanize and a skeleton of a rally began to take shape.
On Thursday afternoon, March 18, there was a confirmed speaker list of two people: myself and Adam. The event was three days away.
On Friday afternoon, March 19, 150 people signed up on the Eventbrite to attend and our speaker list had grown to three: we added Yvonne Kwon, a professor at San Jose State University. By Friday evening, that Eventbrite list was at almost 500 and Former Congressman Mike Honda had committed. By Saturday afternoon, our Eventbrite list reached 1100. News outlets started reaching out and speakers quickly fell into place. The final confirmed list of speakers was set at 11 people.
On Sunday, March 21, at 1:00pm, over 2000 people, almost all wearing black, showed up to participate in the peaceful demonstration.
Breaking the silence surrounding hate crimes on the Asian American community was a common thread among the speakers, who told the audience to reject the model minority stereotype.
Amy Nguyen of the Vietnamese American Roundtable told the crowd, “we don’t have a choice to be silent anymore.” Meanwhile, Juratovac said, “we’re finally ready to speak our truths.”
After the event, Honda told Juratovac, “No one has generated more of a crowd than you and your team.”
Juratovac says that he’s not finished and the next event will be on April 25, 2021 in San Jose, CA.
Eric J. Chang is a guest contributor for AsAmNews. He is a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice. Any views expressed are his own.
Adam S. Juratovac is a California employment lawyer. He is a former professional football player.