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Cerritos Councilman Yokoyama Holds ‘Standing Up Against Hate’ Event in Cerritos

 

STOP HATE: Local elected officials gathered to protest Asian-Pacific Islander violence in general while also lending support to Cesar Echano (red shirt), the 70-year-old Filipino-American  who, along with his wife, were verbally and physically assaulted during an outing at Don Knabe Community Regional Park.

June 27, 2021

BY TAMMYE MCDUFF

Coordinated by City Councilman Frank Yokoyama along with ‘Stop AAPI Hate’, residents from across the Southland joined with local Mayors and Senators to stand up against violence of Asian Americans in Cerritos on June 19.

The Solidarity Walk was in support of Cesar Echano, the 70-year-old Filipino-American and his wife who were verbally and physically assaulted during an outing at Don Knabe Community Regional Park in Cerritos earlier this month.

“I don’t know why he confronted us,” Echano said. “He was laughing and asking me why I was looking at him. I kept my head down and walked away. Then he started yelling a lot of profanity. He told me, ‘You don’t belong here and go back to your country.” The couple attempted to ignore the guy and continued their walk. As they reached their vehicle the same man who had verbally assaulted them, yanked open the passenger side door and began beating Echano.

Hawaiian Gardens City Councilwoman Myra Maravilla said, “We want to send a message that any hate toward anyone is not acceptable. We are here to extend our hand in friendship and assistance to Mr. Echano and his wife to stop senseless violence.”

Many local elected officials attended including State Senator Bob Archuleta, Maravilla, Yokoyama, Artesia Mayor Rene Trevino, Artesia Mayor pro tem Melissa Ramoso; former Cerritos Mayor Mark Pulido; Artesia Councilwoman Monica Manalo, former Artesia Mayor Dr. Victor Manalo; Buena Park Mayor pro tem Sunny Park; Cypress Councilwoman Frances Marquez; Advocate for Asian Americans Joann Fields, and Advocate Neil Estrada.

Estrada was among several community members who gathered and mobilized the Solidarity Walk. “I grew up in Cerritos,” said Estrada, a businessman who now lives in Orange County. “My parents used to take that walk daily. To see that one of our own got hurt in a city with a large Asian American and Pacific Islander population, it’s a shock. This is a rallying cry.”

Stop AAPI Hate is a coalition aimed at addressing anti-Asian racism across the U.S. Founded by A3PCON, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and the SFSU Asian American Studies Department.

Marquez added, ”Our Asian American Pacific Islander communities are experiencing increased incidences of discrimination and racially motivated violence across the country and in Orange County. It is on all of us to take action and stand in solidarity with our AAPI neighbors.”

Senator Archuleta called Echano the face of bravery and honor, unity, and family “We need to take the steps forward to say this is not right. We have joined with all the cities, one million people in the 32nd Senate District, is getting the message that we will not stand for this type of violence. We are a melting pot. We are the Fighting 32nd. We will not allow anyone to be mistreated. Communities are standing in solidarity.”

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