HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Scores rallied at the state Capitol Saturday to call for an end to racism and misogyny.
The event on Oahu, known as the “Stop Asian Hate Rally” was one of many rallies that were held across the country to advance an important conversation -- fighting hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The rally was held to raise awareness about the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic.
Organizers also created the rally to show Hawaii’s solidarity with the Asian American community, following the mass shootings at three Atlanta-area spas and massage parlors on March 26, which left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women.
“I am so tired of coming together because another one was taken,” yelled one protestor in the crowd.
Jamie Goya, one of organizers for the Hawaii AAPI Anti Hate Rally, said the murder of eight people at the Atlanta shooting really shook her, especially because she is the lead massage therapist at a luxury spa in Waikiki.
“That could be me... right... just because I look that way and I am gendered the same way,” Goya said. “We are in the same profession and no matter how prestigious of a place that I work at, that could have been me.”
Goya said because of this and seeing other attacks on Asian Americans, she felt that it was important for her to help create this event.
“I saw the attack on an 85-year-old Thai man in San Francisco. I was like ‘What are we doing locally? How are we protecting our kupuna?,’” she said.
“It’s a systemic problem and we want to address that as soon as possible.”
State Rep. Adrian Tam, who attended the event said, “Not only were they Asian American women they were also immigrants that came to America seeking opportunity that wasn’t given to them in their home country and some of them may have been facing violence and for them to die the way they did here in America...that just goes to show you how much work we have to do.”
People at the rally said that although many Hawaii residents may think these hate crimes only happen on the mainland, they said that these problems exist in Hawaii too.
“It can happen here while you are walking down the street. We have heard of people being pushed down in Nuuanu,” said Goya.
Organizers said besides raising awareness about these issues, they hope the event showed solidarity to AAPI communities hurting around the world.
“We wanted to ensure that our community knew that we were there for them,” said Goya.
“The people out there that are being attacked, we don’t want them to feel alone. We want them to know that there are people even as far away as Hawaii who are out here supporting you making sure that you know that there is aloha out there,” said Brandon Ha, who attended the event.