Around 50 people gathered at Village Green Park in Garden Grove Sunday to hold space for the Asian American Pacific Islander communities to speak on the recent shootings in Atlanta that killed eight.
Josh De Leon, an organizer for the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns in Southern California, said that Tuesday’s shootings in Atlanta is an example of anti-Asian hate that goes as far back as the first Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.
“As we come together in Garden Grove as a strong Asian American community, we are reminded of the fact that the power of our community, our untold story in America, is one of resistance,” De Leon said. “We are not surprised, we know that this anti-Asian hate, this xenophobia is not new it is stitched in the fabric of American history.”
Organized by local activist groups, the event began with community member and spoken word artist Rozalind “Roz” Silva reciting a written poem. Silva volunteered to introduce each speaker for organization leaders who she feels have had to “pivot and plan in the face of trauma.”
“A lot of the times the people on the ground don’t have a lot of time to breathe or grieve,” Silva said. “So, I’m here to support that, uplift our communities’ voices and stories and really highlight that we have always been united, we have always been working together.”
Local leaders and activists showed their support for the AAPI community by taking a stance against racism and reinforcing the notion that violence against people of color, especially women, is nothing new.
Organizers passed out and lit candles for a vigil that displayed the names of the victims, pausing for an eight-minute moment of silence in their honor.
Community members were then invited to speak as part of the safe space offered in the rally, many of whom were women emphasizing the violence and marginalization of Asian women.
Allison Vo, an organizer for Viet RISE, said that news of the Atlanta shooting broke as their organization was honoring victims of the Mỹ Lai massacre, in which 500 Vietnamese individuals were killed by U.S. soldiers on March 16, 1968.
“I mourn the many losses of our communities, and I also grieve the many losses our communities have experienced at the hands of the U.S. empire, militarism, capitalism and white supremacy,” Vo said.
Viet RISE held a march and caravan last Sunday to protest the Biden administration’s deportation of approximately 33 Vietnamese individuals, which Vo deemed another act of violence against the AAPI community.
“Stopping anti-Asian violence means addressing white supremacy and its roots,” Vo said.