Every week for over the past month there have been rallies, marches, and vigils in an effort to stop acts of hatred and violence towards Asian Americans.
Today those calls continue as the words “No Hate” are expected to be emblazoned across Orange County sky’s at 6 p.m. Each letter of the message is slated to be one mile long.
Tam Nguyen, cofounder of Nailing it For America, an all volunteer nail salon advocacy group which helped organize the event, said such a message 11,000 feet in the air will bring hope “through two powerful but simple words.”
The message was initially intended to appear in the sky last week but had to be postponed due to the Santa Ana winds.
Kien Nguyen, a Vietnamese American Grandmother, who sponsored the message will also be hosting a private intimate picnic at the Fountain Valley Sports Park with people from various communities – not just Asian Americans – who have been targets of hate crimes.
She herself experienced racism while exercising at the very park.
“They say she has COVID stay away from her and go back to your home and I said my home is here. I’ve been here for almost 50 years,” Kien Nguyen said in an interview last week.
“My home is here.”
She shared her thoughts in a community piece published by the Voice of OC and will read it at the gathering.
Kien Nguyen assisted Nailing it For America in their efforts to donate about $30 million dollars worth of personal protective equipment as well as over 70,000 meals to healthcare and frontline workers during the pandemic.
Volunteers from the group have also faced racism while helping out during the pandemic. Nail salons across California have reported receiving racist letters this year, including one located in Stanton.
“We stepped up as a community and then to have this hateful speech and actions spewed against us. It’s not only disheartening but it’s a stab in the back,” Tam Nguyen said.
Nailing it For America has held 7 vigils and rallies in the past few weeks as well as helped organize self defense lessons for the community.
Tonight’s sky message is happening the same week as the start of the Derek Chauvin trial over the killing of George Floyd last year. The killing sparked similar rallies not only in Orange County but across the world.
It also comes one day after a shooting in Orange.
On Friday the OC Justice Initiative and Chapman Activists Coalition will be holding an Asian American Pacific Islander community solidarity rally and vigil at Leatherby Library in Orange from 4-6 p.m.
As the rallies, vigils, and marches continue, so do calls for action to stop the surge of hate crimes and violence Asian Americans are facing.
Cities, school districts and police departments have been condemning the violence and racism that has been occuring throughout the country since the start of the pandemic.
But some in the county are saying it’s time for more than just words to bring the hatred and the senseless bloodshed that comes with it to an end.
Residents are pointing to an increase of non-English language services for the county’s hate crime reporting system and last week some called on the County’s board of supervisors to increase funding of the OC Human Relations Commission.
Community members say the language barrier could mean underreporting on hate crimes in the county.
Residents are also asking for greater investments in community organizations and greater education of Asian American history at schools.
Nearly 4,000 incidents of violence and hate nationally were reported between March 19, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021 to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center – an organization which started in response to the rise of racism towards Asian Americans at the start of the pandemic.
“The time for a moment of silence is long over. Enough is enough. We demand a movement of action,” Tam Nguyen said.
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.