Young people speaking up at Bay Area's Asian American and Pacific Islander rallies
Rallies to denounce Asian hate are not slowing down but gaining momentum. Across the Bay Area, gatherings were held to show support over the weekend for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
Youth organized and spoke up at several events. It’s not just a big-city issue but smaller cities are taking a stand and looking to heal.
Roughly 100 people gathered at Lake Elizabeth in Fremont on Sunday afternoon to rise up against hate and free themselves of fear.
"It’s especially scary knowing that we live in a society like this where it feels almost unsafe because of the color of your skin," said Alvin Hong Lee of Fremont.
SEE ALSO: Bay Area organizations that support Asian and Pacific Islander communities
Lee is a Mission High School student. He organized the event to get the Fremont community involved and youth engaged.
"There’s a lot of times where there’s a lot of stereotyping, micro aggressions perpetuated against the Asian American community," said Lee.
In Berkeley, a 12-year-old organized a Stop Asian Hate rally where several people turned out.
"We are the future," said Mina Fedor of Berkeley. "We’re young people. We’re going grow up and do things, so it’s important to hear from us."
SEE ALSO: Anti-Asian American hate crimes skyrocket 149% between 2019-2020, study says
In Milpitas, empowering words from a 10-year-old Filipina girl named Mahalina referring to the eight people killed, six of them Asian women in Atlanta area spas. Before the speeches, there was a solidarity march.
The recent attack in Georgia is among nearly 4,000 hate crimes reported in the country last year. Many people said that number is likely much higher.
"We’re not really taught to speak up, oh let me go report that crime to the cops," said Emerald Rubio of Milpitas.
"This country is made up of immigrants so there should be no hate for anyone," said Charu Gohel of Fremont.
Gohel shares similar pain and grief.
"I faced people giving me looks like I don’t belong here," said Gohel. "We all our one. We just have different colors of skin."
The resounding message actions like these won’t let up as long as the violence and the hate crimes continue.
"It’s not just affecting one group, one person, it’s affecting all of us," said Aaron Lloyd of Fremont. "At the end of the day, it might be the Asian community one day, it could be the black community the next day. It’s all the same."
At the Fremont rally, some changes they'd like to see include investments in ethnic studies and education as well as investments in mental health support.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.