Fil-Ams unite for healing at Daly City rally
DALY CITY, California – Filipino American cause-oriented organizations united against a common adversary — anti-Asian bigotry–that has been the focus of nationwide protest rallies this past weekend in this country.
Led by Mayor Juslyn Manalo, one of five known current Filipino American female mayors in California, Daly City hosted “Together Let Us Stand Against Racism” in cooperation with ALLICE Alliance for Community Empowerment, Anak Bayan Daly City, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs, Filipino American Democratic Club of San Mateo County, Filipino American Human Rights Alliance, Filipino Mental Health Initiative, Pilipino Bayanihan Resource Center, and [email protected] Educational Partnerships a midday, March 20, at the City Hall Rose Garden of Daly City.
Four days earlier a lone gunman had barged into three spas operated by Asian women in greater Atlanta, Georgia and shot dead 8 people including 6 women of Korean descent. Despite the targeted attacks, Atlanta law enforcement officers were reluctant to say race motivated the violence because the suspect “did not say it was.” Instead they echoed the suspect’s admission of frustration over sex addiction that he wanted to “eliminate” by killing the spa operators.
The rampage escalated recent unabated attacks on mostly older persons of Asian heritage, including two in California who have died from their injuries. The spa killing also exposed the “legacy of hyper-sexualization and fetishization of Asian and Pacific Islander women,” according to an open letter at press time was set for publication March 22 in the Los Angeles Times.
Leaders say the surge of anti-Asian violence is a consequence of the scapegoating of the population by the previous president who still uses Chinese references to Covid19, insinuating an ethnic source of blame for the pandemic. About 3,800 hate crimes against Asians have been recorded by Asian Americans Advancing Justice and similar advocacy groups from March 2020 to March 2021.
The Atlanta massacre heightened public outcry when the spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office seemed to exhibit empathy for the shooter by describing the latter as “having a bad day…and so he did this” but expressed little compassion for the fatalities and their families.
“The horrific violence and deaths that have occurred towards elders and women in our AAPI community should have never happened,” Manalo voiced the sentiment behind the gathering in the city where about half of the 107,000 residents identify as of Asian descent. “This rally and vigil is for the community to stand against hate and unite against racism in a space to be ‘in community’ to start to heal and unify.”‘
Multigenerational families attended the rally with eloquent signs. Manalo wore her message in bold colors clamoring for “love not hate.” Attendees came from all over the county and beyond.
ALLICE 2021 president Nan Santiago, former president Allen Capalla and member Rev. Leonard Oakes read the abuse-prevention organization’s statement demanding elected officials and people in power to “stop the use of racist language in reference to the pandemic” and for “authorities to be accountable by recognizing and prosecuting hate crimes to prevent recurrence.”
Filipino Mental Health Initiatives therapist provided on-site counseling for attendees who have experienced racist attacks or are feeling fear and anxiety because of recent events.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe and Board of Supervisors President David Canepa opened the program by decrying the spate of violence against Asian Americans. Canepa announced he is sponsoring a resolution focusing on the history of discrimination and hate against Asian Americans. “The resolution asserts that a rise in Asian rhetoric has resulted in widespread harassment and condemns racism and violence against Asians,” said Canepa.
Canepa delivered the same message at a vigil later that afternoon in Brisbane, also in north San Mateo County. Brisbane resident Kalvin Lee had reached out to the City Council and the City Manager, who expressed support and communication manager Caroline Cheung immediately began working with Lee on planning the vigil.
“We want citizens of Brisbane in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to feel welcomed, respected, and valued,” City Manager Clay Holstine said.