More than 80 people gathered yesterday for a peaceful rally to support the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in response to a shooting in Atlanta that left six Asian women dead.
The rally was hosted by Cal Poly business administration senior Kaela Lee and Pastor Mia Shin along with San Luis Obispo’s Black Lives Matter chapter.
“Asian American voices will no longer be silenced,” Shin said in a speech during the rally. “We will no longer be overlooked. We will no longer be victims of hate, discrimination and violence.”
Lee said that she has experienced racism at Cal Poly and said she wanted to host the rally to show that the Asian community is not silent or invisible.
“As an Asian in a PWI [predominately white institution], I’ve heard comments that the food we make stinks and smells like fish,” Lee said. “People have told me to go back to my country and that my English was good.”
“I’m tired of seeing systemic racism and capitalism work again and again against our minorities,” Lee said in a speech at the rally. “We are all human and we all belong here.”
After Lee and Shin spoke, rally attendees marched through the streets of downtown San Luis Obispo from Mitchell Park to Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa where more members of the AAPI community spoke.
Attendee Ashley Fagan was brought to tears by the rally.
“I’m just really happy about the turnout today,” Fagan said.
Other rally attendees spoke about showing up for their loved ones.
“I have two young daughters — Asian — there’s just been a lot of unneeded hate,” attendee Ken Hom said. “I just wanted to show them that we can stand up to it and come together as a community.”
Food science junior Kenny Won said he attended the rally to support his parents.
“For a lot of Asians, especially Koreans, you don’t want to stand out, but you get to a point where you can’t stand by,” Won said. “I’m not here to make a statement. I just want to show that I care about this.”