Crying out in support of the "Stop Asian Hate" movement, hundreds of residents gathered in Dublin and Livermore on Sunday to protest against rising cases of hate crimes being committed against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community throughout the country.
Protesters in Dublin gathered at the Emerald Glen Park amphitheater late in the afternoon showing unity for the AAPI community and joining together in speaking out against hate both locally and nationally.
"Thank you all for coming out here to support the Asian community ... As an Asian American, it is truly terrifying to see the rise in hate crimes against our community during the pandemic," Dublin High School junior Elizabeth Tan told the group of several hundred residents. "We cannot let violence and discrimination against the Asian American community continue."
Stop Asian Hate rallies have been held throughout the Bay Area and the U.S. in recent weeks, spurred in part by the Atlanta spa shootings on March 16 that killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women.
Tan -- who is also the newly elected president of Above and Beyond Leadership and Education, a youth-led education and charitable organization -- added that while many protesters came to combat rising instances of violent hate crimes committed against the AAPI community nationally, even in a diverse city like Dublin discrimination and hate persists.
"Although I am beyond grateful to grow up in Dublin, a diverse community, I have experienced discrimination in many forms. In school my Asian peers and I have been called 'ling-ling,' we have been asked if we eat dogs, we have been asked if we can see out of our small eyes. The disrespect of Asians in our society goes much deeper than name calling or mocking," she said.
About a dozen local leaders spoke during Sunday's rally, calling for residents to unite against hate and look out for one another.
Dublin City Council member Sherry Hu, one of the event's sponsors and a first-generation U.S. citizen, spoke of unity at the event and asked those in attendance to look out for their fellow residents, regardless of their cultural background.
"I took my oath seriously, and I'm proud and grateful to be an American citizen. America is my home," Hu said. "No matter if you are a first-generation immigrant like me or a second-generation like my children or if your ancestors came here on the Mayflower ... or your great-great-great-grandparents were shipped here from Africa. We may look different, we may sound different, we may cook different meals at home, but we are all Americans. America is our home."
Local State Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan also spoke during the rally and revealed that she is working on state legislation to increase the penalties for people who make threats against protected classes.
"This is what we need to be doing at this moment, standing together in solidarity against the acts of violence and hatred that are being perpetrated against the Asian American community," said Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda). "Seeing elders, as you've heard from every speaker, be beaten and killed in our own backyards is unacceptable, and we need to stand up loudly and condemn those acts."
"In Sacramento, I've introduced a bill to ensure that we increase the penalties against those who make threats against protected classes. We need to put our actions where our mouths are and make sure we are doing everything in our power to stop this," she added.
Other officials who attended the event and spoke in condemnation of hate against the AAPI community included Alameda County District 1 Supervisor David Haubert, American Entrepreneur Association vice president Ben He, Dublin Mayor Melissa Hernandez, Dublin councilmembers Jean Josey and Michael McCorriston, Livermore City Councilmember Brittni Kiick, Pleasanton councilmembers Jack Balch and Kathy Narum, San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board President Susanna Ordway, Sino-American Friendship City Association director Jonathan Ginsberg and Tri-Valley APAPA President Margaret Liang, among others.
A second rally was held earlier in Sunday in Livermore, where approximately 100 residents gathered to protest against Asian hate.
"We were heartened to see our community come out to support the AAPI community and take a stand against racism. Please continue to learn, read, donate and show up," Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District Trustee Kristie Wang said of the Livermore rally.