An Asian American woman training for the Olympics’ karate competition says she was threatened by a man yelling racial slurs at an Orange County Park, and is sharing the recorded video of the incident in order to spread awareness about growing harassment against Asian Americans.
Sakura Kokumai, 28, is the first American to qualify for the Olympics in karate, and is training for the summer games in Tokyo.
She said she’s still in shock over what happened at Grijalva Park in the city of Orange last week.
“Nobody likes to be yelled at by a complete stranger,” she said.
In a video she shared on Instagram, you can see a stranger berating her and threatening her as she worked out.
“Go home, stupid,” can be heard. “I’ll (bleep) you up – I’ll (bleep) your husband up or boyfriend or whoever you’re talking to on the phone.”
She responds with, “I haven’t done anything.”
“When somebody is just yelling at you that aggressively you do get your guard up a little bit – you do get worried,” Kokumai said.
Kokumai is Japanese American, but she says the man yelled something about her being Chinese as he drove away.
“The only two words I picked up were ‘Chinese’ and ‘sashimi’ which have no connection at all,” she said.
In an online summit with other Olympic athletes, U.S. gymnast Yul Moldauer revealed he too has been the victim of racial harassment.
“Last month I was driving and a lady cut me off. She yelled at me, ‘go back to China.’ For me my job is to represent this country so I take a lot of pride into it,” Moldauer said.
The man in the Instagram video has not been identified and Kokumai wasn’t hurt.
She says while it’s heartbreaking to see a rise in attacks on Asian Americans, she hopes sharing her story will bring awareness.
“We all belong here and we don’t have to be afraid when we go out. But I encourage people to look out for one another,” she said.
Source: NBC Los Angeles