Hundreds march against anti-Asian hate | April 16, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - April 16, 2021

Hundreds march against anti-Asian hate

Children and elected officials recount their experiences, as Asians, of racial prejudice and racism

by Lloyd Lee

The Mountain View Transit Center today serves as the city's main hub for the Bay Area's public transportation systems, from Caltrain to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's light rail and public buses to private shuttles.

But on Sunday afternoon, the center became a reminder of a dark period in American history when Japanese Americans were processed at what was then the Castro Train Station and shipped to one of 10 internment camps across the U.S. during World War II.

Around 500 people crowded the center Sunday, many of them two or more generations apart from the war, to rally against the recent uptick in crimes and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

"My grandparents met here in Mountain View; they assembled at the Mountain View Caltrain station where they boarded that train to the internment camp of Heart Mountain," said Mountain View Mayor Ellen Kamei as she stood in front of Mountain View City Hall after the march. "My father was born there and I am the third generation of my family here in this city."

A group of hundreds of locals including children and elected officials streamed through downtown Mountain View, walking on the sidewalks of Hope and Castro streets. Outdoor diners stopped during their meals to record or watch as protesters chanted, "Hate is a virus" and "No more violence/No more silence."

The protest was organized by three high school students — Daisy Kemp of Mountain View High School, Amanda Khu of Castilleja School and Jason Shan of Lynbrook High School— with Christopher Chiang, a Mountain View Whisman School District board trustee, acting as their adviser. The students chair AAPI Mountain View, a local group that was created in response to racism against Asians.

"We can't really change what happened 200 years ago," Khu, 17, said in an interview, referring to a history of anti-Asian violence that was soon followed by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. "But we can change what's going forward."

The Sunday march was a mix of protest and performance. The rumbling sound of taiko drums, a traditional Japanese instrument, could be heard as marchers walked toward City Hall. A group of girls from Able2Shine, an academic enrichment program, sang a song calling for justice. Aparna Prabhakar read her poem, "Brown," expressing how the color of her skin has come to define her: "Brown is the color of my story, and I am the author of my story."

Asian American children and local politicians also shared, in a string of short speeches, either their own direct experiences of racism or how the movement of rallying against anti-Asian hate resonated with them.

"Last year, I was biking and stopped at a red light in Palo Alto when a minivan pulled up next to me and the guys inside started yelling, 'Go back to China! Why'd you bring the virus here,'" said Palo Alto City Council member Greg Tanaka, whose grandfather died of tuberculosis while in an internment camp.

Many local youths, some as young as 8 years old, also spoke to their own experiences of discrimination, especially at the height of the pandemic.

"Last summer on a hiking trail, someone full of hatred called my mom and me 'coronavirus' and told us to go back to China," said Michael Pan, 8, of Cupertino. "Since then, I can no longer walk to a park without fearing that might happen again. I can no longer walk three blocks to my school without fearing that someone might hurt me again."

Most marchers were spurred by the recent acts of violence against Asian Americans. A drawing of Pak Ho, a 75-year-old Asian man who died after being robbed and pushed to the ground in Oakland last month, was displayed at City Hall above nine other names, including those who were killed in the Atlanta, Georgia area shooting on March 16.

"I've been hearing about the uptick in hate crimes primarily through social media for the past few months," said Khu, 18, a senior at Castilleja. "But once Atlanta happened, I think that was really a turning point for me."

While the featured speakers described the diversity of the Asian American experience, they were also examples of how far Asian Americans have come since xenophobic policies were enacted in the past.

State Assembly member Evan Low, D-Campbell, Santa Clara County Supervisor Otto Lee, Mountain View Police Chief Chris Hsiung, city council members and school district board trustees, all of Asian descent, spoke at the rally.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, Assembly member Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and District Attorney Jeff Rosen were also among the attendees who spoke in support of Sunday's rally.

"I want you to know that the 600 members of the District Attorney's Office stand with the victims of hate, stand against the perpetrators of hate, and we'll vigorously prosecute anyone who targets anyone because of their ethnicity," Rosen said.

Email Editorial Assistant Lloyd Lee at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by Ara Goldman
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2021 at 7:53 am

Ara Goldman is a registered user.

~the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the interment of Japanese Americans.

The war against hate is an ongoing battle endured by countless minority peoples and it was very encouraging to see our Jewish leaders lending their support and compassion.

It should also be noted that the southern slavery of Africans, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the genocidal Holocaust and the internment of Japanese American citizens during World War Two were ALL perpetuated and endorsed by a predominantly white majority, each faction with a specific agenda of its own.

And while there were some who acknowledged the moral depravity of such actions, few were willing to step-up and challenge their respective governments.

Whether it was cowardness or simply 'going with the flow', times have changed and political correctness, cancel culture and revisionist historical perspectives are now in full swing.

And organizations such as the NAACP, JDL, and ACLU are now standing firm to address any further wrongdoings predicated on the part of racism, ethnocentrism and unchecked police brutalities against non-white individuals.

Headway is being made via social consciousness and heightened awareness as the venerable and oftentimes racist white societies of old must now learn to accept equality and ethnic diversity as a key element of the global landscape.


Posted by deshaun w.
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2021 at 8:35 am

deshaun w. is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Get Real
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2021 at 11:06 am

Get Real is a registered user.

Good to see some white people protesting as well.

Chances are some of their ancestors supported the southern slavery of Africans, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the genocidal Holocaust and the internment of Japanese American citizens during World War Two.


Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 16, 2021 at 11:22 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Congratulations to the young organizers of this event for the fantastic job they did in putting together this moving demonstration of community unity against violence and discrimination directed against Asians and Pacific Islanders. Listening to AAPI locals tell their stories about being Asian in the mid-Peninsula recalled last summer's Black Lives Matter demonstration and rally at Palo Alto's city hall, when speakers shared their stories of being Black in Palo Alto.

Thanks to city council members Greg Tanaka, Lydia Kou, and Allison Cormack for representing Palo Altans who feel strongly about this "pandemic of hatred" that we are experiencing. Thanks especially to Council Member Tanaka for sharing his family's experience of being unconstitutionally interned during WWII. It made me think of Fred Yamamoto, the young Palo Altan whose family was interned and who died in battle fighting the Nazis with the famed 442nd Infantry Regiment.


Posted by joaquin genaro
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2021 at 1:09 pm

joaquin genaro is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Barry Scott
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2021 at 3:09 pm

Barry Scott is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2021 at 5:22 pm

Longtime Resident is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Biff Langendorf
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2021 at 6:04 pm

Biff Langendorf is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Demetrius Willows
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2021 at 7:56 am

Demetrius Willows is a registered user.

Asians on the whole tend to be a "quiet minority" and have suffered many of the social injustices that other people of color (African Americans, Hispanics, Jewish, and Native Americans) have endured at the hands and actions of a predominantly white governing and policing majority.

With the possible exception of the Jewish gangsters, Chinatown and Vietnamese gangs and the Yakuza syndicate in Japan,
perhaps they need to take more of a "no nonsense" stance like various African American and Hispanic Americans do.

In other words, get tougher and do not accept or tolerate such racist abuses and insults.


Posted by Thuy Trinh
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2021 at 8:11 am

Thuy Trinh is a registered user.

In many ways, it is the responsibility of the younger family members to protect and defend our elders against predatory and racial-based hate crimes.

Looking after our parents after they get older is a cultural practice among many people of color.

And if this means defending our frail elders from physical attack while they are merely shopping or strolling about, so be it.

The hate war has escalated beyond repair and game on.


Posted by ashley jeffries
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2021 at 8:40 am

ashley jeffries is a registered user.

Our kids are trying their best to address this troublesome issue and last week they invited two of their Asian classmates over for dinner.

I left the menu planning up to our children (aged 8 and 10) and to make their invited guests feel more at home they prepared grilled teriyaki hot dogs and hamburgers in Chinese bao buns along with some steamed white rice which I understand is a dinnertime staple for most Asians.

Hopefully the Covid-19 public gathering restrictions will be fully lifted by this summer so the Obon Festival in Palo Alto can be held.

It is an excellent opportunity to get better acquainted with the Japanese culture and it would be terrific if the Chinese, Vietnamese, and East Indians held similar seasonal events.


Posted by Mavis Templeton
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 17, 2021 at 9:27 am

Mavis Templeton is a registered user.

We also try to show our support for the Asian community by ordering either Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and/or East Indian take-out cuisine at least one day of each week.

It is the least we can do for our fellow citizens in the Asian community.


Posted by marnie d.
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2021 at 11:05 am

marnie d. is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Harvey Wong
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2021 at 11:52 am

Harvey Wong is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Chitlin Man aka Willie J.
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 17, 2021 at 2:02 pm

Chitlin Man aka Willie J. is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Lin Tsau
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 17, 2021 at 3:50 pm

Lin Tsau is a registered user.

~ to make their invited guests feel more at home they prepared grilled teriyaki hot dogs and hamburgers in Chinese bao buns along with some steamed white rice which I understand is a dinnertime staple for most Asians.

Very considerate. Serving steamed white rice is akin to presumably offering a nice warm basket of corn tortillas whenever entertaining Hispanic classmates.

Plus, Mexican-style hot dogs with a few jalapenos can be easily rolled inside them.

~ We also try to show our support for the Asian community by ordering either Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and/or East Indian take-out cuisine at least one day of each week.

How does ordering Asian food end hate crimes towards Asians?

That is like saying ordering slow-smoked ribs and sweet potato pie will end the prejudice towards African Americans.

~ It is the least we can do for our fellow citizens in the Asian community.

The least some people can do is become less patronizing and contrived.


Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 17, 2021 at 4:15 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

On Saturday there was a noon-time demonstration against anti-Asian hate in East Palo Alto at the intersection of University and Bay. The multi-racial group of young people and adults enthusiastically showed their support for individuals and groups who are standing up and speaking out against victimization of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. The details of identity among the many ethic, racial and religious groups who have been marginalized in American society vary. But they all need to show this kind of strong support for each other for America to make headway towards achieving a just society for us all.


Posted by Lea Steinberg
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2021 at 5:34 pm

Lea Steinberg is a registered user.

Demonstrations and protests raise social awareness but it takes far more to effectively address and ideally resolve these pervasive crimes against humanity.

This includes effective legislation to ensure that law enforcement investigates all reportages of hate crimes with appropriate arrests and the DA fully prosecuting and emphasizing maximum prison sentences for all of those found guilty of violent hate-related crimes.

Without these measures fully in place, demonstrations are insignificant in terms of the big picture.

And ordering Chinese take-out to show support is ludicrous.


Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 17, 2021 at 9:10 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

I need to clarify that I'm not saying it's the responsibility of the victims of marginalization to set the country straight by working together with each other. In a democratic society that's a responsibility shared with the dominant majority. But the opportunity to shape what results from this moment in history depends on marginalized groups who have often been at odds being supportive of each other in the fight to overturn inherited notions of racial hierarchy that weigh on our ability to develop a just and prosperous nation.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 18, 2021 at 10:17 am

Citizen is a registered user.

@Jerry Underdal,
Actions speak louder than words. As a biracial person (parent from china) who grew up in the south and midwest and experienced my share of racist hatred, constantly being othered, the eye pulling and taunts to my face, on the heels of the racist hatred that affected generations of my family because of the wars (both the Korean war and WWII), the McCarthy era blacklisting--all of which had such negative impacts personally and economically they reverberate in our families to this day--I don't feel like the virtue signaling of some who don't really behave better in other arenas of civic life is really any better than people whose biases are more obvious.

[Portion removed.]

Since I pass for white at this stage of my life, I know white privilege is real, but I also know just how denigrating the attitudes toward older women are especially in Silicon Valley [portion removed.]

I have lived with fears for older relatives who do not pass as white and live in areas of the country where they stick out far for, for far longer than this.It would help if the media would not just pass through hateful




Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 18, 2021 at 10:24 am

Citizen is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 18, 2021 at 11:27 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Citizen

Thank you for contributing substantive comments to this thread. The story of your own experience of marginalization is compelling and important to bring into this discussion of the major demonstration in Mountain View a week ago. I was surprised at the timidity Town Forum commenters displayed as the story went several days without a single comment on the well-written, very informative article about a topic of important local significance. I hope your posts will remain up, because you're right on target in much of what you have shared. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Leona Driscoll
a resident of Atherton
on Apr 18, 2021 at 12:08 pm

Leona Driscoll is a registered user.

No one can walk in another person's shoes nor fully comprehend the actual experiences endured of suffered from.

That said, it is getting extremely tiresome hearing from white 'do-gooders' with their unrealistic societal solutions and idiotic cultural-sensitive recipes.

Why not simply be honest and say, "I do not fully comprehend your unpleasant experiences because I myself have never experienced it?"

This would be a step in the right direction.


Posted by Naz - Homeless In PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2021 at 9:58 am

Naz - Homeless In PA is a registered user.

√ No one can walk in another person's shoes nor fully comprehend the actual experiences endured of suffered from.

This is very true and it also applies to certain individuals with a contempt and hatred for the homeless...especially the poster who continually rants about RVs in Palo Alto.


Posted by Irma Rothstein
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2021 at 7:41 am

Irma Rothstein is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Alvin Chow
a resident of University South
on Apr 20, 2021 at 4:25 pm

Alvin Chow is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Reality Bytes
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 22, 2021 at 8:09 am

Reality Bytes is a registered user.

In order to broaden further awareness of this issue, the Anti-Hate Asian movement needs a dynamic spokesperson of Asian descent similar to the African Americans with Dr. Martin Luther King, Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Reverend Al Sharpton, Mohammed Ali and other impactful outspoken leaders.

Being a "quiet minority" this particular strategy poses a potential challenge as there are relatively few truly dynamic Asian leaders and speakers who can effectively capture both mass media and nationwide audience attention.

An African American colleague once mentioned that 'go big or go home' is the most effective manner in which to get a critical point across and we have witnessed this strategy used successfully with the BLM movement.


Posted by tika motumbe
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 23, 2021 at 9:51 am

tika motumbe is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by kimberly wayne
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2021 at 2:46 pm

kimberly wayne is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Sharon Billings
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 23, 2021 at 4:41 pm

Sharon Billings is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 23, 2021 at 11:57 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

To argue that the anti-Asian hate movement needs charismatic speakers with star power ignores the success the movement is having at this moment. Regular Asian-Americans and their allies have been speaking out and organizing and gathering support from others who bear the burden of being racially marginalized in a historically white-dominated society. And they're being heard. Yesterday the Senate voted 94-1 in favor of an anti-Asian hate crimes bill. Leadership takes many forms.

There has been a lot of support for the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice among Asian-Americans, LatinX, indigenous and white majority Americans over the past year. It's encouraging to see that support flowing now from those diverse racial groups in support of the anti-Asian hate movement. In unity there is strength.


Posted by Archie Redmond
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Apr 24, 2021 at 9:03 am

Archie Redmond is a registered user.

- Regular Asian-Americans and their allies have been speaking out and organizing and gathering support from others who bear the burden of being racially marginalized in a historically white-dominated society.

∆ Then following in the footsteps of their African American civil rights predecessors, perhaps it is time for the predominantly Asian churches in America to get even more vocal and political by enlisting their various religious leaders (i.e. ministers and priests) speak up more vociferously and publically in condemning hate crimes towards Asians.

On a local level, the Wesley Methodist Church and Buddhist temple in San Jose could take this route as could the Buddhist temples in Palo Alto and Mountain View along with the Aldersgate United Methodist Church which is also situated in Palo Alto.

Or request that the Reverend Al Sharpton fly-in on his private jet to speak on their behalf as people listen when he speaks.

Obsequiousness only leads to further harassments and the anti-hate laws must be fully enforced in order to be effective.

And all of this remains to be seen given that it once took the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure presumed constitutional rights and even then, the law was violated by law enforcement, employers, and various hate groups.


Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 24, 2021 at 4:31 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

There's a lot to what you say. The Black Power Movement provided a template for the Chicano Movement (LatinX) and the Red Power (Native American) Movement a half century ago.

The rise in White Nativism that thrusts all who look "Asian" into the category of "other" and treats them as such, regardless of the widely different cultures and economic circumstances they represent, may have the effect of creating a politically relevant Asian-American identity, existing side by side with identities associated with particular cultures and countries of origin. If that happens, we're likely to see Asian-American leaders, including religious leaders, respond accordingly to secure rights guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution. Some of that may draw on the Black Power experience, but it'll be unpredictably different and identifiably Asian if it does.


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