HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - With Asian American hate crimes rising in the US since the start of the pandemic, an Olympic athlete from Hawaii spoke out about her experience with racism.
Sakura Kokumai, an Olympic karate athlete, was a target of a racist rant in California.
Kokumai, the first American to qualify for the Olympics in karate, said she was training in a park for the Tokyo Games when a man started shouting at her.
“You could tell he saw me, probably, being like a female and being small, he’s not going to know that I do karate. He’s not going to know that I am an athlete, maybe, but probably not,” she said.
She posted a video of the encounter on her social media account, which shows the man threatening the Roosevelt High School alumna.
In the video, the man can be heard yelling at Kokumai, saying “I’m not scared of you,” “Go home,” as well as other insults and profanities.
Eventually the man drove off, leaving Kokumai unharmed.
In her post, Kokumai wrote: “Yes what happened was horrible, but I don’t know which was worse, a stranger yelling and threatening to hurt me for no reason or people around me who witnessed everything and not doing a thing.”
Kokumai is a seven-time USA National Champion, and she said it was important to share her experience to raise awareness about this issue.
She said she hopes this video will remind people to take care of each other and to look out for one another.
Honolulu FBI also put out a PSA acknowledging the recent rise in hate crimes and provided information on how to report a hate crime.