Producer, Educator & Writer
A youth-led “Rise Up With Asians” march and rally drew hundreds of attendees on Friday, with participants gathering at San Francisco’s Union Square and marching to Embarcadero Plaza.
While protesters aimed to bring attention to violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in the wake of the Atlanta shootings, organizers also highlighted the death of Angelo Quinto.
The 30-year-old Filipino man was having a mental health crisis, but when his family called the police for help, his family says an Antioch police officer knelt on his back near the neck before his body went limp. He died a few days later.
“Despite awareness that this was a mental health crisis, the police kneeled on his neck while handcuffing him,” his sister, Bella Collins, told the crowd. The family is demanding the creation of mental health crisis response teams and has also said they would like to see changes at the state level.
“We are going to go further,” said Robert Collins, Angelo Quinto’s stepfather, saying he would like “to get more responsive laws that treat every human being with respect and peace, and that’s … what we’re looking for, is genuine respect.”Sponsored
Also speaking at the rally was Kiara Konishi, an ethnic studies student at the University of Hawaii.’We as students have been yelling for decades — U.S. history curriculum seeks to erase us, but we have fought back every single time.’Kiara Konishi, ethnic studies student, University of Hawaii
“Angelo Quinto shows us that it’s not police who keep us safe, but our communities,” Konishi told the crowd. Konishi called out white supremacy for systemic attempts to pit communities against each other. They are fighting for a day when we see an end to white supremacist violence and the dismantling of “settler institutions that have none of us in mind.”
Konishi’s address to the audience also highlighted the history of ethnic studies rooted in San Francisco, and they said they also see students, specifically ethnic studies students, as playing an important role in the current movement. “We as students have been yelling for decades — U.S. history curriculum seeks to erase us, but we have fought back every single time,” they said.
Former San Francisco supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer spoke to the crowd, recalling her own experience of violence against her mother in San Francisco.
Fewer said she was a 6-year-old child holding her mother’s hand on a Muni bus when a white woman pushed her mother. Her mother got up and said, “It’s OK, just ignore it.” But as Fewer said, the incident was imprinted in her brain. She was hurt, embarrassed and angry at the woman who pushed her mother and angry at her mother for not standing up for herself.
As Fewer told the crowd, she stopped blaming her mother decades ago. Instead, she blames “the framework in society that has kept us silent, ignored, invisible.”
The younger generation will right the wrongs she saw, Fewer said.
“You cannot be stopped. You know too much,” she said.