“We are here today in Chinatown to hold this space for you, to stand up against white supremacy, hate, and racism.” This statement by CAA’s Annette Wong set the tone for the August 25 vigil, “Light Up the Night From Charlottesville to Chinatown: No Hate,” which honored the memory of activist Heather Heyer, who was killed on August 12 during counter-protests against white nationalists in Charlottesville, VA.

“Light Up the Night” Vigil attracted nearly 300 people to stand in solidarity with anti-white supremacists protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Heather Heyer, a white woman protester, died from injuries suffered as a white supremacist drove his car into the crowd. (Bob Hsiang 2017)

Racist, right-wing demonstrations like the events in Charlottesville are becoming more overt and vocal across the nation. It is a trend that is being normalized, empowered, and incited by the race-based xenophobia and bigotry of the Trump administration.

Chinese for Affirmative Action worked with allies in Chinatown to organize the vigil, which was attended by over 300 marchers. The program commenced at the Chinese Culture Center and included diverse speakers such as Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Jewish Voice for Peace; Joyce Lam, Chinese Progressive Association; Annette Wong, Chinese for Affirmative Action; Clifford Yee, Organization of Chinese Americans – San Francisco Chapter; Sandra Lee Fewer, San Francisco Board of Supervisors; Phil Ting, California State Assembly Member; Jeff Adachi, Public Defender of San Francisco; and Carmen Chu, Assessor-Recorder of the City and County of San Francisco.

The program also featured educational videos on the disturbing history and aim of hate groups in the U.S. and ended with a program of songs led by Reverend Norman Fong on the Dr. Rolland and Kathryn Lowe Community Bridge. Media presence at the rally included Sing Tao and World Journal newspapers, AsAm online news site, and television stations KTSF and KTVU.

Resistance and speaking out against white supremacy is vital to countering bigotry and xenophobia. CAA will continue to mobilize with partners and allies through efforts like this.