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San Diego Acts To Fight Discrimination Against Asians, Pacific Islanders

Sculptured lions guard the front of Jasmine Seafood Restaurant on Convoy Street. Aug. 25, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
Sculptured lions guard the front of Jasmine Seafood Restaurant on Convoy Street. Aug. 25, 2016.

On April 10, members of Andrés Bonifacio Samahan, the Filipinx and Filipinx-American Cultural Organization at San Diego State University met virtually to elect their leadership for the next school year.

But their meeting was soon interrupted by a “zoom bombing,” where random members of the public entered the meeting and began hurling racial epithets.

“There was just so much hate being thrown at us, it was really an unbelievable experience,” said Cristal Ami, chairperson of the organization.

Their experience has not been uncommon for members of the Asian/Pacific Islander community during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a report from the STOP AAPI HATE reporting center, there have been 27 cases of anti-API acts in San Diego County reported between March 19 and April 29 of this year.

RELATED: San Diego County Supervisors Revive Human Relations Commission Amid Rise In Hate Incidents

Video: City Council To Take Up Resolution To Push Back Against Anti-Asian/Pacific Islander Acts

This included incidents of verbal harassment and physical assault.

Areas with a high concentration of Asian-owned businesses such as Kearny Mesa already saw a slump in sales before the state’s stay-at-home order went into effect. Many restaurants there remain closed, despite the ability to now reopen.

Escondido resident Erin Chew was at Costco parking lot in San Marcos in early April when she says a man hurled racist comments in her direction, blaming her for the stay-at-home measures.

“No matter how much you expect it in a way, you still feel quite shocked and stunned,” Chew told KPBS. “Since I’ve moved to San Diego, it’s the first time I’ve personally experienced this kind of person-to-person racism. Somewhere like San Diego, where I love living here because of the diversity, to have that happen is very disappointing.”

On Wednesday, City Councilmembers Georgette Gomez and Monica Montgomery proposed a resolution to cut down on anti-Asian/Pacific Islander discrimination in the county.

The resolution, which comes to a vote next week, would better track racist incidents and commit the city to an education campaign to push back against intolerance.

“Small steps like just not avoiding Asian businesses, just to keep supporting each other, you can slowly take the small steps, into attacking this incredibly big issue of hate against the community,” Ami said.

San Diego Acts To Fight Discrimination Against Asians, Pacific Islanders
Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.