Asian Americans and their allies held rallies Saturday in California — home of the nation’s largest Asian population — to denounce shootings at massage businesses in Georgia and racism, xenophobia and misogyny.
In San Francisco, hundreds gathered in Portsmouth Square, the park in the middle of Chinatown, to grieve the victims and to call for an end to racist and sexist violence against Asian Americans.
The participants waved signs reading “stop Asian hate.”
One person wrote “We pray for peace, justice & safety for the AAPI community,” while another stated, “We are ALL Americans.”
“Whether we are grandparents, workers, women, or young people, we all deserve safety and it is clear the current systems are not working,” Shaw San Liu, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association, said in a statement, according to the sfgate.com website. “We need to fight racism, economic inequality and sexism/gender-based violence with effective community-based solutions if we are to achieve true safety for our communities.”
Besides San Francisco, protests took place in other major cities, including neighboring Oakland.
In the small Bay Area suburb of Brisbane, another group held an afternoon rally in a park and made the same pleas. They heard speeches from local government and law enforcement officials calling for an end to hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific islanders.
“On behalf of the Brisbane police officers and myself, we stand here with you in solidarity to denounce violence and racism and promote peace, respect and safety for everyone,” Police Chief Elizabeth Macias said.
Asian-American parents and business owners are fearful of their children or places of work being targeted, and many community members are afraid to go out in public, activists have said.