Westridge Student Leads Discussion About Racism


Richard Cao

The gathering was held at Pasadena City Hall on August 29.

On August 29, a small group of individuals gathered on the steps of Pasadena City Hall to discuss and protest against the amplified systematic racism Asian-Americans faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The gathering was organized by Kathleen C. ’21, who created the organization Vocal Asians for Change, which speaks out against racism by highlighting and discussing xenophobia, particularly towards Asian-Americans.

Kathleen C. ’21 speaks out about Vocal Asians for Change and why she created it. (Richard Cao)

The hour-long event included speeches by Kathleen, a video message from Congresswoman Judy Chu, song performances of Andrea Day’s “Rise,” and Beyonce Knowles’s “Spirits” by Kayln Litwin, and sponsored boba.

Hey Hey Boba was the official sponsor of the event, supplying drinks and straws to all the attendees. (Richard Cao)

“Having a platform to raise a generation to be more vocal and to make change is what really inspired me to organize the protest,”

“Having a platform to raise a generation to be more vocal and to make change is what really inspired me to organize the protest,” Kathleen expressed. “It was a lot. I sat down and wrote about how I was feeling and what I wish would happen, which then turned into Vocal Asian for Change’s mission. I immediately sent an email to Congresswoman Judy Chu, the first Chinese American woman to be in Congress, and I voiced my thoughts on everything that was going on in the Asian-American community. I also had a lot of support from friends and family to start this organization.” 

“It felt empowering to be alongside fellow Asians/allies. The environment felt very supportive,” said Zelia M. ’21, who attended the event. “Not only was the gathering for a cause I cared about, but I also want to support my friend Kathleen!” 

“I decided to attend this discussion to further educate myself on the discrimination and injustice people of color face in America and to discover ways I can stand up to racial discrimination,” said Molly K. ’23, another attendee. “I found great interest in hearing the stories told by fellow Asian-Americans, as well as finding a greater connection to my Chinese heritage.”

Attendees hold up posters and signs to amplify the Asian-American community and their voices. (Richard Cao)

Even though Kathleen hasn’t organized any gatherings for the foreseeable future, she wants to continue to advocate through social media and provide a voice for the voiceless, especially ones that are Asian-American. “I really want this to continue and to have more conversations about what’s going on and how we can make change. I also want to spread more awareness about the injustice towards Asian-Americans and have people listen. As of right now, we haven’t planned anything, but I plan to host something similar in the future.”