A banner that read “Asians Are Strong” was vandalized three days after it was installed on Route 101 near the Vermont Street exit in San Francisco on New Year’s Day.
San Francisco native and community organization “Asians Are Strong” founder Hudson Liao, who helped put up the banner on Jan. 1, told KRON 4 that it was installed as a way to start off the new year with a positive message and empower the Asian American community.
Liao said the community was “so proud” to have the banner until they found out it was vandalized.
“It was just so heartbreaking and it’s just like kind of a gut punch for us. It reminds us of how much more work we have to do,” Liao said.
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He believes the vandalism was intentional and motivated by anti-Asian hate.
“I was upset. I was pretty mad when it happened,” Liao said. “It’s not even offensive. It says ‘Asians Are Strong’. Someone saw it on the freeway, got upset enough to get off the freeway, go find this random overpass and intentionally only cut off the Asians part, it wasn’t like the whole banner. They specifically cut off Asians to send a very very clear message that this was a racially motivated vandalism.”
Liao says he plans to make a “bigger and louder” comeback by raising funds to put up a billboard in the city.
“Asians Are Strong” also plans on providing self-defense classes, workshops and more events for local residents over the next few weeks.
“We’re not going to let this define our movement,” Liao said. “We’re not going to let this single setback, single person put us down.”