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Korean American Santa Clara Councilmember Says He Was Denied Chance To Speak At 'Stop Asian Hate' Rally

SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) – A Santa Clara city council member, who is Korean American, said he was denied a chance to speak at a "Stop Asian Hate" rally held amid the rising number of attacks against Asian Americans.

"I was shocked, but not amazed that this happened," Councilmember Kevin Park told KPIX 5 Wednesday.

The rally, which was held Wednesday afternoon in Santa Clara, was hosted by the city's mayor and Councilmember Kathy Watanabe, according to a flyer.

Park said a list of speakers had gone up to the podium, and that's when he took the opportunity to ask Watanabe if he could say a few words.

Santa Clara Stop Asian Hate Rally
Santa Clara Councilmember Kathy Watanabe seen speaking during a "Stop Asian Hate" rally on March 31, 2021. (Facebook)

The rally, which was posted on a Facebook livestream, captured Watanabe responding, "No, I'm sorry, no, this is my event, so no. Thank you anyway, thank you for being here, I appreciate your support."

Watanabe did not want to go on-camera for an interview, but sent a statement to KPIX 5 explaining the event had a rally permit for an hour, and there was only enough time for the 11 speakers and performers who were already on the schedule. She said had Park responded he was attending the event, she would have included him as a speaker.

Park, who is the only Korean American on the Santa Clara city council, said he learned of the meeting on Tuesday and believed it was put together last minute.

Santa Clara Councilmember Kevin Park
Councilmember Kevin Park of the Santa Clara City Council during an interview with KPIX 5. (CBS)

Park said he responded as a "maybe," because of family obligations, but decided his schedule allowed him to attend last minute. Still, he said, he's unsure why that wouldn't allow him to speak. He said his prepared speech would have run less than a minute.

"It was about unity, it was about togetherness and openness and solidarity and I feel that the actions hijacked the theme," Park said.

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