Over 350 protestors gathered in front of Palo Alto City Hall on Sunday to encourage voter registration among the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities as a part of an ongoing movement against hatred towards the AAPI community
Only 49% of Asian American citizens that are eligible to vote do so, according to Greg Tanaka, Palo Alto City Council member and organizer of the “8 by 8” campaign. The movement encourages community members to convince eight people to register to vote in eight days, which Tanaka hopes will increase Asian representation in government.
“What this [rally] is trying to do is the ‘8 by 8’ which is to get eight people to register to vote in eight days,” Tanaka said. “It’s to drive action so that there’s more representation from the community.”
Supporters marched down University Avenue, whistling yellow whistles and chanting phrases such as “eight by eight, stop Asian hate.” As they filled up the plaza in front of City Hall, protesters were greeted with live music and speeches from guest speakers in the Asian community sharing the experiences that motivated them to advocate and attend the rally.
“It’s cathartic. It [rallying] makes people feel better and that shouldn’t be understated.”
— Eric Chang, California Deputy Attorney General
Palo Alto High School junior and ASB Junior President Mathew Signorello-Katz was one of many student volunteers contributing efforts to organize the event. Motivated to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities after seeing a recent surge of anti-Asian hate crimes, Signorello-Katz signed up to help attendees register for the rally.
“I think there’s a necessity to spread awareness both at the local level and beyond,” Signorello-Katz said.
Protest attendee and California Deputy Attorney General Eric Chang said he believes that protests like these will instill feelings of progress in the community
“It’s cathartic,” Chang said. “It [rallying] makes people feel better and that shouldn’t be understated.”
Additional reporting by Sebastian Bonnard