Social justice art project in Sacramento raises awareness about history of AAPI discrimination

Social justice art project in Sacramento raises awareness about history of AAPI discrimination
via Angie Eng
Bryan Ke
March 28, 2023
A local artist organized a silent social justice walk in Sacramento, California, on Saturday to raise awareness about anti-Asian hate and the history of systemic discrimination against the Asian and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.
Nearly 200 people, from community members to representatives from 40 local AAPI organizations, such as the Adult Buddhist Association, Asian American Liberation Network and the Chinese American Council of Sacramento, attended the “Right On!” social justice art walk, a civil rights project inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and further pressed by the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
California saw the most reported cases of anti-Asian hate crimes between March 2020 and March 2022. From a total of 11,000 cases reported nationwide, the state has the highest number of incidents at over 4,300, followed by New York with 1,840 cases, according to the latest data from the non-profit group Stop AAPI Hate.

Developed by local artist Angie Eng in partnership with Jason Jong, a Sacramento percussionist and recent recipient of the Sacramento Bee AAPI Change Makers award, the procession started in front of the Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse at the corner of Fifth Street and I Street, according to a press release.
Participants wore black shirts with dates highlighting significant Supreme Court case rulings that targeted community members based on their class, race, ethnicity, gender or abilities.
Image by Bryan Lai via Angie Eng
QR codes taped on the back of participants’ shirts would bring scanners to a website describing each court decision.
Image by Bryan Lai via Angie Eng
From the courthouse, “Right On!” participants walked through downtown to Capitol Mall, stopping at every block to showcase their shirts. They then returned to the Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse, where they ended the silent civil rights exhibition.
The recent gathering was similar to an art project that Eng organized in Boulder, Colorado, in October 2022, commissioned by the Stop Asian Hate initiative of the Center of Humanities at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Speaking to ABC10, Eng said her affinity for art began when she was 8, attributing her passion to her family.
“In the family, in our genes, we are not doctors, we are artists,” Eng explained. “When I was 8, people labeled me an artist before I even created or designed. It was almost like fate that I became an artist and chose that path.”
More than 20 years later, Eng has continued to use art to raise awareness of social causes and injustices.
“In a crisis moment, I think that’s when art is most powerful,” she said. “What we can do is look back on our history, and trace how in our history, we do have discrimination and racism. And, then we can educate ourselves and the community on the source of hate and violence.”
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