Demonstrators gathered on all four corners of the Santa Monica Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard intersection in West Hollywood for a nationwide call to Stop Asian Hate. The protest on Saturday, March 27, 2021, was a condemnation of the recent rise in hate crimes against people of Asian descent, including the recent attack of spas in the Atlanta metropolitan areas where a shooter left 8 dead–6 who were Asian women.
“We’re here to demand justice for Asian people, to raise awareness and we need people to respect our elders and stop attacking us,” said Sinakhone Keodara. “We’re human Beings. We hurt too. We worry about our futures and about our families. It’s cowardice when people attack our elders. We are here to show support.”
Keodara added that he was happy the LGBT community showed up for Asian Americans. “It’s a beautiful thing,” he said. “There are a lot of rallies going on today, but the fact that WeHo is doing it is great. I want to be with my people, for my people.”
The Stop Asian Hate rally in WeHo grew close to 200 people. Participants carried signs expressing solidarity with Asian communities. Crowds gathered and chanted and cheered at cars that honked in support of their efforts before they began their march.
“I’m so glad people showed up to support the Asian community, “said Karina Samala, who sits on the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board and Los Angeles Advisory Council. “Hatred happens everywhere. It happened to people with HIV. It happed with Black Lives Matter and not it’s happening to Asians. They blame us for COVID. The ex-President says that it came from China and uses words like the Wuhan flu. That is the reason why we Asian people have been targeted. People are being hateful and this is not right. People need to stand up. I’m Filipino American. I’ve been living in this country for a very long time. I work with the community and try to help my transgender family. We want people to stand up and to be loving to one another. We’re one community. It’s amazing to have this rally and to the people who showed up, thank you for embracing us and supporting us.”
The plan was to march on the sidewalk without disrupting traffic, however, the crowds inevitably spilled on to the street. A young woman was grazed by a moving vehicle, which made some marchers angry. A West Hollywood Sheriff vehicle drove in and allowed the marchers to take their protest out of the sidewalk and onto the street with the Sheriff as their escort. Other Sheriff vehicles joined to block oncoming traffic to make sure marchers were safe.
“I’m glad that all these people came out to support the Asian community,” said West Hollywood Mayor Pro-Tempore, Lauren Meister at the rally. “What Trump unleashed–it existed–but he unleashed terrible amounts of hate against everyone. We have to stop it. We have to speak out. If we don’t speak out, then shame on us. You have to be vigilant. You know what the say, today is them, tomorrow it’s you.”
The Stop Asian Hate march moved west on Santa Monica Boulevard, south on Robertson Boulevard, East on Melrose Avenue, and north on La Cienega to end at starting point on Santa Monica Boulevard. The protest began at 12 p.m. and ended at roughly 2 p.m. It was peaceful.