By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As anti-Asian crime and hate continue to be on the rise throughout the country, activists and allies marched on Friday in Southern California with a message loud and clear.

More than 200 San Gabriel Valley community members chanted and held signs reading “United Against Hate.”

Demonstrators say racism and hatred must stop and they’ll fight to make it happen.

“I think it’s important because in our culture we’re taught to be silent but I don’t think that’s enough for this. It’s very important for us to speak up,” said demonstrator Kristen Tang.

“Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the stereotypes and stigmas that have been going on, there’s been such a rise against Asian hate,” said demonstrator Kathy Pham, “It’s really heartbreaking to see.”

The march began with a rally at Alhambra City Hall and ended at San Gabriel City Hall where speakers including Congresswoman Judy Chu spoke to the crowd.

She’s working to crack down on hate crimes nationwide.

“We’re also introducing legislation to fight hate crimes in Congress and we are doing what we can to make sure to stop this terrible hatred,” Chu said.

The rally is one of many that are being held across the nation after a growing number of violent attacks against Asian Americans, including a murderous shooting rampage at three Atlanta-area spas where eight people were killed, including six Asian women.

Community leaders say the demonstration is about healing, too.

“We’re coming together because the community is hurting and when one community hurts. We’re all hurting,” said city council member Denise Menchaca.

Congresswoman Chu says the legislation she’s introducing is aimed at stepping up how agencies collect hate crime data and improve how they report and process those crimes.