By John Ramos

ALAMEDA (KPIX) — Saturday was a day of action in the East Bay, a call for businesses to stand against hate directed at Asians and Pacific Islanders.

“We decided we wanted to do something and I think the best way to do something is to leverage the platforms that you have,” said Cindy Le, operations manager for the Almanac Beer Company in Alameda. Their platform was an eager lunch crowd on a beautiful spring day. To make a stand against anti-Asian bigotry, the company was donating 20 percent of the day’s proceeds but they didn’t stop there. They put out a call for other East Bay restaurants and businesses to join them in the day of action.

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“We planned the event in about a month,” Le said. “We knew that we needed to do something pretty immediately while this was in the forefront of people’s minds and the response has been amazing.”

137 East Bay restaurants, bars and other businesses joined the cause, pledging to donate part of the day’s take to Asian community organizations. Some, including Almanac Beer, offered space and foot traffic for pop-ups for small, Asian-owned businesses.

Thuy Nguyen usually only sells her specialty cream puffs to a single mini-mart so the space at Almanac was a great sales opportunity. Still, Nguyen said she’s donating 20 percent of what she made to a San Francisco Asian non-profit.

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“I’m really fortunate,” she said. “I haven’t had to deal with a violent attack against myself so, if I can help, I want to.”

Over the past year, nearly 3,800 anti-Asian hate incidents have been reported, with 45 percent of those occurring in California. All across the East Bay, the day of action was more than just a fundraiser. It was meant to send a message of support and solidarity to those being targeted and, perhaps, to raise awareness that people’s differences may actually be the community’s greatest strength.

Liana Rodriquez said she never really understood that before.

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“I wasn’t expecting this. I never was this aware of my culture, my color … that I looked different until now,” Rodriquez said. “I guess I kind of went through life, like, ‘I don’t know, I’m Filipino what are you?’ … Now it’s like ‘I’m Filipino!’ and I’m proud because of this.”