Shouting “hey hey, ho ho, racism has got to go!,” hundreds of demonstrators marched against anti-Asian violence Sunday in Milpitas.
The event, one of several throughout the nation this weekend, came in response to recent attacks in Atlanta and the Bay Area.
Protesters walked about a mile from Lee’s Sandwiches, a Vietnamese American fast food restaurant, to Milpitas City Hall, chanting and waving signs.
“Racism and oppression against Asians is longstanding and ongoing,” said Emerald Rubio, who organized the Milpitas event, which followed similar marches in Berkeley, Dublin, San Francisco and Saratoga. “Now this discrimination is coming to light.”
“In the Asian American community, we were taught to keep our heads down, but now we are speaking out against the increase in violence against our community and our elders,” Rubio said in an interview.
A diverse crowd of protesters, young and old, marched down Calaveras Boulevard in Milpitas to City Hall. As they shouted such chants as, “When our elders are under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight back!.”
Passing motorists honked in solidarity.
Rallies have taken place locally and nationally following an attack in mid-March in which eight people, six of whom were Asian women, were gunned down in and around Atlanta. Bay Area Chinatowns have been rocked by violent attacks and robberies as well.
Covid-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China, and former President Trump has used the phrase “China virus,” which many believe has contributed to anti-Asian violence.
“Asians are not viruses, but racism is,” read Diego Coronel’s sign, a response to the former president’s comments.
“Elders are being attacked just for being Asian,” Coronel said. “A friend of mine’s mother is afraid to leave her home to buy food.”
Jonathan Cabrera, president of PUSO, which stands for De Anza College’s Pilipino Unity Student Organization, said in an interview: “We’re standing up for all Asian Americans who have been attacked.”
Addressing the crowd at City Hall, Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran told the crowd, “Here in Milpitas, we are diverse, and we stand up for each other. We are here to support our fellow cities, counties and states.”
Organizer Rubio told attendees, “We must be bold and break the silence. We must speak out so we can heal as a community and a nation.”