LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles City Councilmember John Lee proclaimed May 3 Asian American and Pacific Islanders Los Angeles Day, giving an opportunity for the city to spotlight the voices of the AAPI community in the city and beyond.
"I just want to start by saying how proud I am to be one of the few Asian people elected to the city council," Lee said. "Last year, we were vocal about the increase in hate crimes toward the AAPI community, and there was a spark that ultimately brought so many communities together in support of what was happening to the Asian and Pacific Islanders throughout the country."
Lee joined other political leaders, business owners and residents announcing the proclamation.
As he celebrated, Lee reflected on the dramatic increase in hate the AAPI community faced during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and how proud he was to see other races in America denounce such hate.
He said the community was vocal against the hate crimes toward the AAPI community, which brought communities together in support of what was happening to the AAPI community throughout the country.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said during the start of pandemic, AAPI members were wrongly singled out and faced an alarming uptick in attacks against AAPI Angelenos.
"We saw the beginning of this pandemic single out AAPI members of our nation's communities scapegoated in a dark history that draws from our past," Garcetti said.
He added he saw a 76% increase in anti-AAPI hate crimes and bigotry impacting people's livelihoods.
Garcetti praised the AAPI community for withstanding such hate with grace and poise.
"To address these and other challenges to increase representation and opportunity and better support, we created AAPI and I'm so excited about it," he said.
L.A. civil rights activist Capri Maddox said the civil rights community is proud to stand with the Asian and Pacific Islander community.
"We are honored to celebrate L.A.'s vibrant Asian American history," said Maddox. "L.A. would not be the city it is without its Asian American heritage."
Meanwhile, LAPD Dep. Chief Blake Chow encouraged people to visit Asian communities during AAPI Heritage Month.
"I encourage community members to go to Koreatown, go to Little Tokyo, take the family and spend the weekend there because you will be enriched," Chow said.