Huntington Beach found itself the latest battleground in the racial tensions brewing across the country as white supremacists planned a "White Lives Matter Rally" on April 11th. Or, at least that was the plan, before counter protestors flooded the area before their rally started- effectively turning this would-be rally of hate into one of unity against racism in the community.
Despite this strong counter showing, the fact that there was planning of a "White Lives Matter" rally at all displays the massive ignorance that has permeated the United States for centuries and the long way we have to go in the fight for racial justice.
“We shouldn’t even be here” was one of the most common messages reiterated by counter protesters at the rally,which is entirely accurate. The fact that black Lives Matter should have never been up for debate. The same goes for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community, hate crimes against the AAPI community this past year have gone up by 145%. This is a basic human rights issue guaranteed to all of us as Americans by our own Declaration of Independence that states “all men are created equal.”
Last week, Huntington Beach city councilman Tito Ortiz made an Instagram post condemning the rally, where he said: "I denounce it 100%. I denounce all hate groups coming to Huntington Beach.” But when an Instagram user commented, “Actual KKK in California in 2021?” Ortiz responded with, “Yeah it’s called a Democratic party.”
The Coast Report Editorial Board stands with the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the AAPI community, and staunchly condemns the actions taken by white supremacists in Huntington Beach. We do not condone the comments made by Huntington Beach city councilman Tito Ortiz in light of the event.
This is not a time to be pointing fingers from one party to another, considering the political unrest that has been a defining characteristic of this country for the past few years. Opposing racism and strengthening civil rights should be a nonpartisan issue all politicians can agree on. Pitting Republicans against Democrats and vice versa is the last thing we need.
Police brutality and racism within the police force is a serious issue that plagues this country, and at this point we need police reform now. In 2021 alone, already 265 people have been killed by police. Police reform is entirely necessary if we want to protect our democratic rights, because otherwise we’re looking at a future of potentially becoming a police state.
There is hope though. On April 14, the U.S. Senate voted 92-6 to proceed with a bill that responds to hate crimes against Asian Americans. The bill would increase federal efforts to address hate crimes against the AAPI community, as well as issue guidance to mitigate racially discriminatory language in the description of the pandemic. It’s time for these types of bills to be passed locally as well.
Ultimately, there is still a long way to go in the fight for racial justice within the United States, and we need to take it upon ourselves to do better for our community. The Coast Report, as the paper of record for Orange Coast College – a campus that celebrates and thrives because of diversity and is home to over 20,000 students and faculty of nearly every race and religion – roundly condemns racist acts and hate speech of any type. We stand with our brothers and sisters of all nations and all colors.
To learn more about the BLM movement and how you can participate, visit the website here. To learn more about issues faced by the AAPI community and how to take part in collective action, visit Asian American and Pacific Islander Philanthropy here.