Asian community in Orange County learning how to protect themselves in event of an attack

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (KABC) -- Following the recent wave of violence against Asian Americans, members of the community in Orange County are taking charge and learning how to defend themselves in the event of an attack.

Kien Nguyen said she has already experienced racism in Orange County and is scared.

During her routine walk around a park in Fountain Valley last April, Nguyen heard cruel words as she walked past a couple.

"'Stay away from her. She (has) COVID,'" Nguyen heard as she realized she was the only other person around.

"And I'm scared. They said, 'Go home,' and that hurt me," Nguyen said.

Nguyen did go home and said nothing. She said it's common in her culture to avoid trouble.

"So stay home and keep quiet. Don't tell anybody because they're scared to make enemies," she said.

The Garden Grove Police Department Community Liaison Manager, Kelly Huynh, said she has seen what that fear can do. During her 13 years of work with Vietnamese community she says she has observed a reluctance to call the police.

"We're here to service our community members and whether it be a crime or not, if it's something that needs to be brought to our attention, we hope that our community members feel comfortable," Huynh said.

Nguyen's son, Tam Nguyen, has been taking advantage of that service.

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The owner of Advance Beauty College co-founded Nailing It For America in response to the pandemic to help support workers on the front line.

When the AAPI community became the target of hateful violence, the organization put on vigils, press conferences and safety trainings to empower those most vulnerable to these attacks.

"It's very sad that here it's come to this. That we have to work with the police department," he said. "That we have to go above and beyond just to feel safe in the streets to do normal things, such as taking a walk, or walking with our family, or going to school and going to work."

After watching her son's efforts, Nguyen was inspired to get involved, speak out, and even donate to make a message that read "No Hate" across the sky - 11,000 feet above Huntington Beach - all in the hopes that a new trend takes over.

"When I speak out, my friends speak out," Nguyen added.

Nailing It For America is joining forces with Thuy Nga Productions to launch a global benefit concert on Saturday, April 24.

All proceeds will help combat anti-Asian hate rhetoric and violence and provide services for vulnerable community members through a fund with Orange County United Way.

Donations can be made here in English or here in Vietnamese.
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