A so-called “Solidarity Walk,” to be participated on by Filipino American political leaders, has been set up on Saturday (June 19) at the Cerritos Regional Park where a 70-year-old retiree was recently attacked by a suspected racist.
Cerritos Councilmember Frank Aurelio Yokoyama, whose mother is a Filipina, reportedly organized the event. It has got the nod of former Cerritos Mayor Mark Pulido and Artesia Mayor Pro Temp Melissa Ramoso.
Other political leaders listed in the event’s flyer include Artesia Councilmember Monica Manalo, Hawaiian Gardens Councilmember Myra Maravilla, Buena Park Councilmember Sunny Park, Cypress City Councilmember Frances Marquez and San Diego community leader JoAnn Fields.
The community action was triggered by a recent attack on Cesar Echano which happened at about 11 a.m. at the Don Knabe Regional Park on June 5.
Echano expressed elation over the developments during a phone conversation with Weekend Balita.
“Natutuwa ako at maraming dumadamay sa akin,” Echano said.
Echano particularly mentioned Cerritos Councilmember Yokoyama who accompanied him to the city’s Sheriff Office a couple of days back where he provided investigators more details about the attack.
In a statement he posted on Weekend Balita’s Facebook page, Councilmember Yokoyama said 61.8 percent of Cerritos residents are of Asian Pacific Islander descent.
“I strongly urge the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to fully and completely investigate this suspected hate crime against Cesar Echano and his wife, and to work with AAPI community in addressing the rise in anti-AAPI attacks,” Yokoyama said in the statement.
Echano said authorities are planning to put out an artist’s sketch of the white man who punched him on the face to hasten the identification of the suspect.
The Los Angeles Police District (LAPD), for its part, has sent an investigator to Echano’s residence and is apparently conducting a separate hunt for the suspect.
Echano also disclosed he has been invited to another community action to be held next weekend which would be led by Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn.
The victim expressed optimism that his attacker would be identified and arrested soon.
Echano and his wife were walking around the park’s fishing lake when they encountered the suspected racist.
The suspect, about 5 feet and 11 inches tall, was wearing a black shirt and a dark colored jeans when the Echano couple chanced upon him.
Echano thought that suspect was mischievously smiling at them when they saw him.
“Umiwas ako ng tingin (I avoided eye contact) at dumiretso lang kami sa paglalakad,” Echano narrated.
For no reason, the man allegedly mouthed invectives at Echano.
“Pinagmumura niya ako. Kung anu-ano ang pinagsasabi niya. You don’t belong here, go back to your f**** country, narinig ko.”
Echano said his wife warned him not to reply to the provocation.
“May sira yata sa ulo ‘yan, sabi ng asawa ko.”
The couple kept on walking for about 10 minutes until they reached the parking area.
As Echano sat on the car’s passenger’s side (as it was his wife who was driving their car) the suspect suddenly appeared by the side of the vehicle and punched him.