By Maria Medina

SAN JOSE (KPIX) — Lawmakers are taking action in the wake of the recent rise in anti-Asian hate and violence.

“I was waiting for some type of rally organically to happen, weeks pass by and I saw nothing,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell). “So I said to myself, ‘We must just do it ourselves.'”

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Low not only organized a “Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate” rally, he also got a long list of attendees to RSVP, including Santa Clara County district attorney Jeff Rosen, San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo plus members of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, the San Jose police department, the San Francisco 49ers and the San Jose Sharks.

“This rally is certainly about us standing together but it’s also about empowering the community with information,” Liccardo said. “There’s a long tradition we know of racism and xenophobia against Asian Americans in this community.”

Bilingual San Jose police officers have conducted foot patrols in Asian American communities to educate them about the city’s Safe Place Hate Crime program. Business owners who volunteer to be part of the program agree to welcome victims of hate crimes in their establishments where they can safely stay until officers arrive.

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The program is intended to foster a sense of community and to encourage victims to report hate crime, which is significantly underreported.

Last month, an Asian American man who was allegedly told to “go back to his country” and then spat on in Mountain View initially didn’t report the incident, Low said. The suspect, Karen Inman, was later arrested on several hate crime charges.

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla of California is co-sponsoring a bill that would establish an online reporting system for hate crimes in multiple languages among other proposals to combat hate crime across the country.

“I think it’s important to speak out, say something, ask for solidarity,” Low said. “This may be an issue toward the Asian Pacific Islander community today but we know that tomorrow it’ll be some other group.”

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The Stop AAPI Hate rally Saturday, March 13, will get underway at 11 a.m. outside San Jose City Hall.