South Bay leaders gathered at San Jose City Hall this past weekend to stand against the rise in hate crimes and discrimination against the Asian community.

The ‘Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate’ rally was hosted by Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, and San Jose City Councilmember Pam Foley.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, local leaders including State Sen. Dave Cortese, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Santa Clara County supervisors Joe Simitian and Susan Ellenberg joined the rally at the San Jose City Hall Rotunda.

“The reality is that racism is a cancer, because it is deep-rooted in the history of this nation,” said state Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, during brief remarks. “And really, the institution of racism has really been used to divide our communities and to create hate and to create this sense of otherness within our communities of color.”

Since the start of the pandemic a year ago, anti-Asian discrimination has increased, fueled largely because of the falsehood that Asian Americans are responsible for the spread of COVID-19, according to a study by Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition dedicated to addressing anti-Asian discrimination.

Between March 19 and Dec. 31 of 2020, the coalition had received more than 2,800 firsthand reports of discrimination and abuse. Of those incidents reported, 7.3 percent of victims were people 60 years or older.

The Bay Area has also experienced a similar trend. Since January 2021, there have been more than two dozen incidents of discrimination against its AAPI population.

Last week, a 26-year-old San Jose woman was physically and verbally assaulted at San Jose’s Diridon Station.

On March 7, an Uber driver had three passengers yell racial slurs and expletives, cough on him and harass him in San Francisco.

Last week, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office also charged a woman for spitting on a stranger having lunch in downtown Mountain View and telling him to go back to “where you came from.”

In Early February, a 64-year-old grandmother was assaulted and robbed of cash she withdrew at an ATM in San Jose.

In January, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanpakdee was going on his morning walk in San Francisco, when a 19-year-old man allegedly ran into him at full speed, causing Ratanpakdee to hit the pavement and die from his injuries two days later.

Asian American businesses have also been subject to hate and discrimination.