Long Beach, News

Dozens gather in Garden Grove to honor lives lost in Atlanta, hold safe space for Asian American Pacific Islander communities

Around 50 people gathered at Village Green Park in Garden Grove Sunday to hold space for the Asian American Pacific Islander communities to speak on the recent shootings in Atlanta that killed eight.

Josh De Leon, an organizer for the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns in Southern California, said that Tuesday’s shootings in Atlanta is an example of anti-Asian hate that goes as far back as the first Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.

A table of candles was set up near the stage of the vigil. Each candle had the name of an individual whose life was lost in the Atlanta shooting.
As part of the vigil, candles is set up to represent an individual who lost their life in the Atlanta shootings. Photo credit: Ashley Ramos

“As we come together in Garden Grove as a strong Asian American community, we are reminded of the fact that the power of our community, our untold story in America, is one of resistance,” De Leon said. “We are not surprised, we know that this anti-Asian hate, this xenophobia is not new it is stitched in the fabric of American history.”

Josh DeLeon, an organizer for National Alliance for Filipino Concerns in Southern California, spoke about AAPI hate is rooted in U.S. history.
Josh De Leon, an organizer for the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns in Southern California, discusses how AAPI hate is rooted in U.S. history. Photo credit: Ashley Ramos

Organized by local activist groups, the event began with community member and spoken word artist Rozalind “Roz” Silva reciting a written poem. Silva volunteered to introduce each speaker for organization leaders who she feels have had to “pivot and plan in the face of trauma.”

“A lot of the times the people on the ground don’t have a lot of time to breathe or grieve,” Silva said. “So, I’m here to support that, uplift our communities’ voices and stories and really highlight that we have always been united, we have always been working together.”

Supporters came up to grab a candle which was later lit in an eight minute moment of silence to hold space for individuals grieving.
As part of Sunday’s vigil, demonstrators grab a candle to participate in an eight-minute moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Atlanta shootings. Photo credit: Ashley Ramos

Local leaders and activists showed their support for the AAPI community by taking a stance against racism and reinforcing the notion that violence against people of color, especially women, is nothing new.

Organizers passed out and lit candles for a vigil that displayed the names of the victims, pausing for an eight-minute moment of silence in their honor.

Community members were then invited to speak as part of the safe space offered in the rally, many of whom were women emphasizing the violence and marginalization of Asian women.

Speaker Allison Vo, an organizer for Viet RISE, was accompanied on stage by friend Indigo. Vo spoke about how AAPI violence is not new and “stopping anti-Asian violence means addressing white supremacy and its root.”
Allison Vo, an organizer for Viet RISE, is accompanied on stage by friend Indigo Vo as she speaks about how AAPI violence is not new and “stopping anti-Asian violence means addressing white supremacy and its root.” Photo credit: Ashley Ramos

Allison Vo, an organizer for Viet RISE, said that news of the Atlanta shooting broke as their organization was honoring victims of the Mỹ Lai massacre, in which 500 Vietnamese individuals were killed by U.S. soldiers on March 16, 1968.

“I mourn the many losses of our communities, and I also grieve the many losses our communities have experienced at the hands of the U.S. empire, militarism, capitalism and white supremacy,” Vo said.

The vigil began with community member and poet, Rozalind "Roz" Silva, reciting a written poem after she introduced the other community speakers.
During Sunday’s vigil in Garden Grove, Rozalind “Roz” Silva recites a written poem after introducing other community speakers. Photo credit: Ashley Ramos

Viet RISE held a march and caravan last Sunday to protest the Biden administration’s deportation of approximately 33 Vietnamese individuals, which Vo deemed another act of violence against the AAPI community.

“Stopping anti-Asian violence means addressing white supremacy and its roots,” Vo said.

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