TORRANCE, CA — They came to sweat out hate and to punch out racism.
About a month after videos of 54-year-old retired social worker Lena Hernandez attacking Asian Americans — including Filipinos — went viral, nearly 100 people gathered to show support for her victims.
“I never think something like this would happen and I’m just so surprised at the outpour of love and support that everyone’s given,” said Sherry Buseco.
“We feel so much power in our voices so just to be heard from our community and everyone to come out, and support us, it’s wonderful,” said Kayceelyn Salminao.
Hernandez was arrested last week for a misdemeanor battery charge in a 2019 incident involving Filipina Kayceelyn Salminao. Hernandez was released on a $1 bail due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is scheduled for her court arraignment in October.
For Salminao, it’s a small step towards justice that is long overdue. When Hernandez goes to court, it will be almost a year since Salminao was allegedly assaulted at a local mall.
“We’re hoping the Torrance police department and city of Torrance to do their due diligence, and make sure these cases are prosecuted timely and that they will prosecute it to the fullest extent of the law,” said Atty. Sandy Roxas.
Unlike Salminao’s case, prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to press charges against Hernandez in regard to her racist rants toward Filipina Sherry Buseco and an unnamed Japanese family in two separate incidents last June.
“The viral videos have shown the racism we’ve faced as Filipino Americans, as Asian Americans, and it’s unfortunate that’s what it takes — because if those two other videos haven’t surfaced regarding Lena Hernandez, Kayceelynn would have never had a second look at her case.”
Torrance’s state Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi joined the workout rally, assuring people there will be accountability for perpetrators of racism and help for victims.
“You shouldn’t be free to roam around and threaten everyone and spread hate. I’ve talked several times with the city of Torrance. We will continue to explore all legal as well as political legislative angles to support the victims.”
As anti-Asian incidents continue to increase across the country, advocates believe now is the time to speak out because for every story that comes and goes viral its a chance to bring positive change in this fight against racism.