By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Activists handed out whistles Monday, the last day of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, in LA’s Chinatown as part of a national effort to arm seniors with a self-defense tool that requires no training.

Juliana Lee and a friend came up with the idea to pass out the whistles. Lee said she got her first whistle as a form of self-defense at a women’s college, adding that she and others have kept their whistles over the years.

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The idea to pass out whistles came after the group Stop AAPI Hate found more than 6,600 incidents of hate against the Asian American Pacific Islander community from March 2020 to the end of March this year.

Last week, a 75-year-old woman was sucker punched in New York City, an attack that left her with two black eyes.

“Mostly what prompted this is thinking of our parents,” Lee said.

She teamed up with a nonprofit called Quincy Asian Resources to distribute whistles in New York, Boston and LA.

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“We’ve been giving out tens of thousands of these whistles,” Phillip Chong with Quincy Asian Resources told CBSLA’s Jeff Nguyen.

Organizers of the effort say the whistles have a dual purpose. There’s the function of the whistle in moments of trouble or danger, but there’s also symbolism.

“The AAPI community has felt so silenced for so many years,” Lee said. “We should be heard and people should not hesitate to make that noise or feel uncomfortable with it.”


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