ABOUT 150 individuals gathered at Wilson Park in Torrance, California on Saturday, July 11, roughly a month after a woman was captured on video hurling anti-Asian sentiments in two separate incidents.
The participants took part in a group workout protest, wearing black T-shirts with the message, “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied,” in an effort to pressure local authorities to take action after videos went viral in June, showing Lena Hernandez’s racist tirades against two Asian Americans, including a Filipina American named Sherry Bulseco who was exercising at the park.
“What started off as acts of hate and racism brought the community together,” Sandy Roxas, a lawyer representing the victims pro bono, told the Asian Journal following Saturday’s event.
In the first video posted on June 10, Hernandez — a 56-year-old retired social worker from Long Beach — is heard berating Bulseco who was exercising on the steps of the park.
“Get the (expletive) out of this world…Get the f— out of this state. Go back to whatever (expletive) Asian country you belong in,” Hernandez shouts. “This is not your place. This is not your home. We do not want you here.”
Workout participants on Saturday wore all black in reference to Hernandez’s remarks later in the video during which she asks Bulseco, “Who wears black in California sun? Who the f—wears black? Are you an idiot? You wear black in California sun? Seriously?”
Hernandez was also recorded during a racist tirade against an unidentified Japanese American man who was at the parking lot of the park that same morning with his young son.
“You are going to go to real jail now,” she says, and then uses a mock Asian accent. “You understand me, China man?”
The rally also featured representatives from local Asian American organizations who called on Torrance officials to do more after announcing they would not pursue charges against Hernandez for the two incidents because of “critical gaps in the evidence.”
Hernandez was previously arrested and released on bail on Friday, July 3 for a battery charge stemming from a separate encounter last October. The woman was accused of physically attacking another Filipina American, Kayceelyn Salminao, inside a restroom at the Del Amo Fashion Center.
Salminao filed a police report but nothing transpired, until months later, when Hernandez was the subject of the two viral videos.
Hernandez was taken into custody on July 3, a day after charges for the October incident were announced by the Torrance City Attorney’s Office. She was released hours later after posting her $1 bail.
After the statements on Saturday, participants formed small groups for workout sessions led by volunteer trainers from the area.
“The ugly and racist actions of one individual [have] highlighted the greatness in coming together for a certain cause, in this case, fighting racism and xenophobia. We know that we are not alone. We know that together, our unified voices can be heard. And now the world knows that we will not tolerate racism and stay silent,” Roxas said in a statement with Blackbelt Legal, Inc.