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Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Tustin skate protest marks beginning of AAPI Heritage Month

Vincent Medina
Skate to End Hate march begins at Tustin Legacy Skatepark on May 1, the first day of AAPI heritage month. The protest is in response to the attack on Jenna Dupuy, who was beaten at the park three weeks prior.

“I never thought this would happen to me, much less anyone I knew,” said Jenna Dupuy, an 18-year old Puerto Rican-Korean American who was harassed and assaulted at Tustin Legacy Skate Park.

A Skate to End Hate protest was held in support of Dupuy at the park on May 1, the first day of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

As Dupuy described, she was at the Tustin skate park on April 11 when a man began harassing another woman at the park. Dupuy defended the woman, but he turned his attacks toward her.

Jenna Dupuy speaks at a Skate to End Hate protest on May 1, 2021. She details what happened when she was beaten and harassed and calls for an end to AAPI hate crimes. (Vincent Medina)

He began calling her racial slurs such as “commie bitch,” “North Korean whore” and “nuclear terrorist.”

“My shirt was torn off, and I had to lay on the ground, naked and exposed,” an emotional Dupuy described during her speech. “The injuries he left me with were a fractured shoulder, I refractured my ankle, and I sustained a concussion. I was left with scratches and bruises all over my body.

She shared images of her injuries on her Instagram page.

Dupuy said that the attack happened because of the decades of stereotypes and fetishization that have enabled violence against the Asian community.

“Growing up, I was surrounded by media that perpetuated the sex appeal of Asian women. It caused me to internalize that Asian women are meant to be quiet and submissive,” Dupuy said.

“I am an Asian woman, and I am not going to be quiet or subservient. They are going to listen to me and my story because the violence against my community has gone on for too long, and it stops now!”

Skaters ride down the street during a march against AAPI hate crimes on May 1, 2021. Kaila (left), the lead organizer of Skate to End Hate, met resistance while organizing the protest, but proceeded as planned. (Vincent N. Medina)

Kaila, the head organizer of Skate To End Hate, received harassment and death threats while coordinating the demonstration. When scouting the park for the protest on April 28, she was harassed and mobbed by a group of young skaters.

She has since pressed charges on the boys.

For safety and while the investigation is ongoing, she asked to only be referred to by her first name or by her organizer Instagram handle @tallcabbagegirl.

“What happened that day was ridiculous,” Kaila said as she described what happened. “[My friend and boyfriend] were immediately harassed by a group of boys. The security guard didn’t do anything until I called on him. The boys formed a half-circle around us and started trying to get in my face and started waving their arms around.”

The activist stated that one boy in the mob hit her, and she defended herself by trying to block the attack.

“A lot of people were dismissing this saying, ‘They’re kids, they don’t know any better.’ Well, I think a kid should know better than to hit a woman,” she said.

Kaila recorded the boys and posted the video and a further explanation of the events on her Instagram.

“One thing I didn’t notice until looking at the video was that some of them were pulling their eyes back to make fun of me being Asian,” Kaila said. “When I was looking through the video to send to my team, we realized that they were staging everything ahead of time. It was planned.”

Several young skaters did disrupt the demonstration by walking through the audience of supporters while activists were speaking.

“The skating community, especially the younger generation, is pretty toxic,” said Dupuy. “They were causing a disturbance, and I let them know, ‘If you are going to disrespect my friends and the speakers here, I’d appreciate it if you’d leave.’”

OC Justice Initiative and CORE Movement helped organize the event.

Anthony Bryson and CORE Movement supporters march against Asian hate crimes on May 1, 2021. He plans to run for congress in California’s 47th district. (Vincent N. Medina)

“We heard about what transpired, and we wanted to support them as they stand against Asian hate crimes,” said Antony Bryson, the founder of the CORE Movement.

Bryson also plans to run for U.S. Congress in California’s 47th District, which covers Long Beach, Garden Grove, Westminster, Stanton, Los Alamitos, Cypress and Catalina Island.

“If I am elected, I will push for more equality, more social justice legislation and getting rid of qualified immunity. I will also reevaluate the current policing in California,” Bryson said.

The demonstration also drew the attention of Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan.

“We want to make sure that the message is getting across that we are not going to tolerate hate in any form,“ the mayor said. “I think Irvine was the first city in California to set up a ‘reporting portal’ on the city website. This allows people to report an incident online from the comfort of their home.”

After several speeches from activists, the demonstrators took to the streets and marched from Valencia Avenue to Edinger Avenue.

Despite warnings from the Tustin Police Department, the protesters marched in the street.

Law enforcement told the marchers to go onto the sidewalk so they would not stop traffic, but the demonstrators responded by shouting, “Who’s streets? Our streets!”

Marchers felt the officers tried to intimidate them by riding their motorcycles close to young protesters and revving their engines behind demonstrators.

“We can’t protect you if you are on the street,” officers said through their megaphones.

Once the marchers returned to the park, a Jiu-Jitsu demonstration by Instructor Richard Arreola and his team from the Hybrid Academy was set up to teach participants how to defend themselves.

“We don’t encourage violence,” said Arreola. “We embrace the true characteristics such as discipline, self-control and character. If we must defend ourselves, then we are prepared.”

“Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should,” the instructor emphasized to the audience as he demonstrated self-defense techniques.

Music from live performers such as Kim Nguyen and the band Cardboard Treehouse played to conclude the protest.

Skate to End Hate intends to hold more demonstrations to protest Asian hate crimes.

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About the Contributor
Vincent Medina
Vincent Medina, Managing Editor
Vincent Medina is the managing editor of Cerritos College Talon Marks Newspaper. He plans to receive his Associates Degree for Transfer at the end of Fall ‘21 semester. Vincent plans to pursue political journalism, and his goal is to become a political correspondent.
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Tustin skate protest marks beginning of AAPI Heritage Month