SJECCD celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month

Public scholar educates community on hate crimes and stereotypes

%E2%80%9CAsian+Americans+have+been+erased+for+so+long%2C+it+is+important+that+again+not+only+our+pain%2C+but+our+resistance+is+being+written+down+and+recorded+and+remembered+in+this+historic+moment%2C%E2%80%9D+Mabute-Louie+said.

Illustration by Vanessa Tran / Times staff

“Asian Americans have been erased for so long, it is important that again not only our pain, but our resistance is being written down and recorded and remembered in this historic moment,” Mabute-Louie said.

SJECCD held a meeting on May 6 to honor Asian Pacific Heritage Month with a guest speaker, Bianca Mabute-Louie.

Takeo Kubo, financial director at San Jose City College and president of the Asian Pacific American Association began the meeting by thanking everyone for attending.

Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson, president of Evergreen Valley College, introduces herself and says that the district community is a safe place for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans.

“The acts of violence that have been happening, I’ve experienced myself personally, but I’ve also known we’ve experienced them over generations, and we have always been the perpetual othered,” Gilkerson said.

Bianca Mabute-Louie is a Cantonese public scholar that conducts research, creates resources and facilitates workshops to support people that have faced racial injustices.

Mabute-Louie said she was born outside of Los Angeles but is currently residing in Houston, Texas.

She said that although people that lived in her area were Asian, she felt odd going to a prestigious and elitist private school. It wasn’t until college when she said she realized that she was a minority that faced some disadvantages while still having privilege.

Mabute-Louie was a volunteer at the initial stages of Stop AAPI Hate, a San Francisco-based group of nonprofits, organizers and educators that was formed during the pandemic to address hate against the community.

A trend that she said she saw in the data collected was the increase of 150% in hate crimes with over 6,600 reports of incidents since March of 2020. She also highlights that in a conducted survey, Asian American students are afraid of being bullied if they return back to school

She said that Donald Trump’s reference to COVID-19, calling it the “Chinese virus” raised the number of hate crimes.

“Those spikes in that violence are always correlated to political rhetoric being used by the government or by the media to scapegoat them,” Mabute-Louie said.
The bubonic plague in the 1900s was a rare but deadly bacterial infection that was transmitted by fleas.

She said that Yellow Peril is a stereotype that has been present since the beginning of the country, then later becoming popular when the plague was occurring. It refers to how Asians are dangerous, dirty and immoral.

“The trends are kind of eerily similar where during that time in San Francisco actually there was a deceased man, a Chinese man in San Francisco Chinatown,” she said, “they very similar to now, scapegoated Asian immigrants as being responsible for bringing the plague.”

Mabute-Louie said that microaggressions get dismissed because of the stereotype about how Asians don’t experience any racism.

She said that it is important for the community to be there for each other and especially the eldery.

“Asian Americans have been erased for so long, it is important that again not only our pain, but our resistance is being written down and recorded and remembered in this historic moment,” she said.