More than 100 people gathered at Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo for a ‘Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate’ rally on April 1.
Local activists Kaela Lee and Mia Shin partnered with Black Lives Matter Community Action (BLMCA) to host the peaceful rally and march.
Leaders organized the event with the goal of standing in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community to denounce acts of hate and racism.
Shin, a minister with Agape Church in San Luis Obispo, gave a speech addressing her impact in the community over the last 20 years and denouncing the Atlanta, Georgia spa shootings that left 8 people dead.
“Make no mistake,” Shin said. “The shooting in Georgia was the intentional targeting of Asian businesses [and] Asian women.”
Lee, a Cal Poly student, spoke to the crowd about the resilience of communities in the face of oppression and the need for everyone to come together to lift each other up.
“When we are beat down time and time again, we stand back up,” Lee said. “We get up. We are still here. We are fighting. It is always a time for change. I’m tired of seeing systemic racism and capitalism work again and again against our minorities.”
Lee then led attendees through chants as they marched through downtown San Luis Obispo.
The crowd chanted "BIPOC unity to end white supremacy," "Hate is a virus, we don’t need your bias," and "Get it right the first time -- that was a hate crime."
In a statement on the BLMCA Instagram page, the group wrote, “We recognize that our struggles in this country are intertwined and that we will never overcome the forces of white supremacy without one another. AAPI hate is not confined to any specific part of this country -- it is here in San Luis Obispo.”
Many attendees brought signs, and organizers required mask wearing and social distancing at the event.
San Luis Obispo Police officers and volunteer peacekeepers were present at the rally and march to ensure the safety and organization of the crowd.