Participants held up signs during the rally held at Los Angeles State Historic Park. (NBC Los Angeles)

Rafu Wire and Staff Reports

A “Rally Against Anti-Asian Hate Crimes and Racism” was held Feb. 20 at Los Angeles State Historic Park near Chinatown by a group called Stand for Asian Solidarity Alliance.

The event, attended by about 300 people, was held in response to increasing reports of discrimination against and physical attacks on Asian Americans across the country, many of them seniors. The hate crimes are believed to be motivated in part by the mistaken belief that Asians are more likely to be carriers of the coronavirus.

One of the victims was Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old immigrant from Thailand who died after an unprovoked assault in San Francisco last month that was captured on surveillance video. Similar videos of elderly Asians being attacked in Oakland Chinatown and New York have been circulating on social media.

The organizing group describes itself as “an informal ad hoc committee with the purpose of raising awareness of continuing anti-Asian violence and to support and address the needs of the AAPI community.”

The flyer for the event, written in different Asian languages, urged participants to “come together in peace” and encouraged mask-wearing and social distancing.

“When I see these attacks continue to happen and they’re targeted attacks, it makes me think I can’t be seeing this happen to my parents, my grandparents,” activist and entrepreneur Young-Jin Yang told NBC Los Angeles, adding that he has experienced racism all his life.

“This is wrong and we need to say something,” Yang told the crowd. “We are begging you to please acknowledge that these things are happening and please say something. Give us an opportunity so that our future generations will be seen as an equal human being.”

People have “more power than you think you do,” he said. “All it takes is to share a post and to speak up when you see something is wrong.”

Yang encouraged people to share cellphone videos of hate crimes they witness against all people.

Quoting Martin Luther King Jr. as saying, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Yang said, “We must stand up for each other. This is not a group versus Asians. This is not white versus Latino. This is not any community against another community.

“This is about us as the human race against hate and we must show solidarity against all those people, we must keep all of our own people accountable because at the end of the day all we are asking for is the opportunity for equal rights and to be seen as human beings and not be characterized as a generalization.

“To all the people that are here today and the people that are watching on television, please speak up. Please report what you see because we are suffering in silence and we cannot suffer in silence any more.”

“Racist rhetoric from the pandemic has targeted us for being the reason for coronavirus,” said actor Daniel Wu (“Into the Badlands”). Wu has joined other Asian American actors, including Daniel Dae Kim, John Cho and Olivia Munn, as well as athletes Naomi Osaka and Jeremy Lin, in speaking out about anti-Asian violence.

“It doesn’t matter what shade your skin is,” said activist Kelly Mac. “What

matters is how we treat one another. For us to have been targeted recently, it was unjustified. It was uncalled for. Most people think Asians are responsible for the coronavirus … and that is far from the truth.”

Signs carried by participants included such slogans as “I am not a virus” and “Stop inciting anti-Asian violence.”

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