Supporters of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community took to the streets on foot and wheels for a “Skate to End Hate’ event held at Tustin Legacy Skatepark Saturday.
The rally was held in response to the increase of anti-Asian hate crimes in America within the past year including a recent attack at the skatepark that targeted a Korean American, Jenna Dupuy.
Dupuy was verbally harassed by a 42-year-old male for several hours at the skatepark April 11 before being punched in the stomach. Dupuy pepper-sprayed the assailant, but he continued to attack and rip off her shirt, leaving her with several injuries.
Dupuy made an appearance at the event, her first time back at the skatepark since the incident. She received a lot of support from friends, people online and the skate community.
“I’m starting to find people that love and care about me, and I’m just thankful for that,” Dupuy said. “Everyone’s a part of the skate community, and everyone has the right to skate.”
Kaila, widely known as ‘roller-skating influencer’ @tallcabbagegirl on TikTok, helped organize the “Skate To End Hate” event. She is a Korean American who grew up in Orange County and a frequent skater at Tustin Legacy Skatepark. Kaila declined to publish her last name for legal reasons.
In a speech given by Kaila, she recounted the numerous incidents of alleged harassment that were both sex and race-targeted, all of which occurred since February.
“A couple of days ago, I was here. I was not here to skate. I was not in my skates. I was looking at places to have this event because after what happened to Jenna, I just wanted to do something about it,” Kaila said in her speech.”
According to Kaila, a group of boys went out of their way to harass her while a security guard stood by.
“What happened that day was ridiculous to me. I think the kids should know better than not hit a full-grown woman,” she continued. “I think they shouldn’t mob us and attack people they don’t know. I don’t know what reason they had, but none of it’s excusable.”
The mayors of Irvine and Tustin, Farrah Khan and Letitia Clark, respectively, were anticipated to speak at the event, but only Khan was in brief attendance with no speech. Clark did not show.
At 4 p.m., protestors began marching, biking and skating around the 1600 block of Valencia Avenue. Initially, Tustin police attempted to keep participants off the road but were unsuccessful; half of the crowd was marching on sidewalks before moving onto the streets. Police then aided in blocking traffic for the march.
At its peak, about 150 people were present; many were members of the skate community.
The crowd began dissolving by 5 p.m., shortly after the march ended.
Continuing the program, Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructors from Hybrid Academy demonstrated free self-defense lessons around 5:15 p.m.
Rubina Bernabe, a Filipino ‘roller-skating influencer,’ gave a speech about allies and accountability within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
“Everyone loves boba; there’s an actual boba shortage. You can’t just love boba and stand on the side when something happens,” Bernabe said passionately. “You can’t pick and choose when you love a culture, when you stand for it and when you don’t—it shouldn’t be like that.”
As performances commenced around 5:45 p.m., supporters began leaving in groups, which left about 25 people in the audience.
The rally ended peacefully as organizers started packing up. The crowd dispersed by 6:30 p.m.