Pacifica marches against Asian American hate

In response to the surge of attacks, Pacificans are eager for solidarity and change


A group of people marched in Pacifica on Saturday, standing against the ongoing hate crimes and violence targeting Asian Americans in the United States.

The march started at the Pacifica Community Center, where masked participants gathered together to walk with supportive signs across Highway 1 as members of Pacifica’s police force assisted by blocking off approaching traffic on both sides. The group walked along the Linda Mar Beach trail, later wrapping up in Rockaway Beach.

Marchers held homemade signs that had anti-Asian hate messages on them, such as “White supremacy is a virus” and “Racism is not born, it’s taught”.

Four speakers took center stage beforehand to rally against the violence towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community followed by a brief moment of silence for all of the individuals killed as a result of the attacks, including the eight people who were fatally shot when a gunman opened fire at three massage parlors in Atlanta on March 16.

The speakers included Andy Lie, vice president of the Board of Trustees at the Jefferson Union High School District; David Canepa, president of the San Mateo Board of Supervisors; Julie-Ann Burkhart, a Pacifica resident who has personally encountered racism; and Khrislenn Garino, the president of the Terra Nova Asian Club.

“This past year has probably been the most difficult I can remember as an Asian American in this country,” Lie said. “I don’t remember this type of hatred in racism, not since I was a teen.”

Lie, a Pacifica resident for 25 years, recently saw his district release a statement condemning hate and violent acts, along with developing plans for an equity task force.

“As an Asian American, I have faced racism myself as young as six years old, and recently, during this pandemic, I have also faced people telling me to go back to my own country — but the thing is, I grew up here, and I’m an American, so I don’t have a country to go back to,” Burkhart said.

Burkhart says that the recent surge in violence is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and former President Donald Trump’s nicknames for the virus, which she claimed “scapegoated” the community.

“The Bay Area is one of the most diverse areas,” Canepa said. “Laws have to get stricter, and we have to rise up and beyond hate.”

Canepa is in the process of offering legislation to make San Mateo County a “zero-tolerance hate zone”.

“We must stop Asian hate, but we also must uplift and honor Asian Americans,” Burkhart told the crowd. “Protect Asian lives. Represent Asians across all media and in school education. Elevate Asian accomplishments. Welcome the span of Asian cultures and appreciate Asian roots and heritage.”