Hundreds joined the March for AAPI Solidarity + Safety along San Francisco’s Great Highway early Sunday afternoon.
Organized by San Francisco Supervisor Gordon Mar and a coalition of labor, faith and community organizations, the peaceful protest started at 12:45 p.m. Sunday at the parking lot near the intersection of Great Highway and Sloat Boulevard.
The event – which featured speeches by faith, community and political leaders and a performance by Richmond District-based rapper Son of Paper – was a response to the rise in crimes targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the city and around the United States.
According to data from the Stop AAPI Hate nonprofit, there have been at least 359 reported anti-Asian incidents in San Francisco – with more than two-thirds committed against women – during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today, we are speaking up for our community,” Mar said. “We speak up for those who remain silent, isolated, or fearful, for they are not alone. Our fear, sorrow and rage are righteous. Together, it’s our duty to turn fear, sorrow and rage into love and solidarity, not hate and division. Violence is a constant companion of hate and division. Healing and long-term solutions require building cross-racial understanding and solidarity.”
According to the American Community Survey, San Francisco’s Sunset District is majority Asian American, with 57 percent of residents in the Sunset and Parkside neighborhoods estimated to be Asian American.
At an April 8 Board of Supervisors hearing, Mar called on city departments to work together to create a comprehensive citywide plan to prevent violence and support victims in Asian American communities. A multi-agency report in response to the hearing is expected before June.
“Like all people of color, our communities have struggled against racism throughout our history in this country over 150 years, but the breadth and brazenness of the recent violence and racism directed at Asian Americans have been shocking,” Mar said. “These incidents of violence have made the especially difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, including widespread unemployment and the struggle to survive of our small businesses, even more painful.”
The march was organized by Mar’s office in coordination with the District 4 Youth and Families Network, Wah Mei School, Self Help for the Elderly, Sunset Church, Sunset Ministry and SEIU 2015, and was co-hosted by Supervisor Myrna Melgar.