‘Disgust, fear, and sadness’: Public Facebook post documents anti-Asian incident in Santa Cruz County
In a Facebook post Sunday, Melissa Tao wrote that she found a cup “filled with pee” on her windshield after leaving her car for 15 minutes in a parking lot at 41st Avenue and Portola.
As violence, harassment and hateful rhetoric targeting the Asian-American community persist across the country, one Santa Cruz area resident took to social media this weekend to document her own recent experience of being on the receiving end of intimidation and threats.
In a public Facebook post Sunday, Melissa Tao wrote that she found a cup “filled with pee” on her windshield after leaving her car for 15 minutes in a parking lot at 41st Avenue and Portola. The cup had an obscenity scribbled on it, along with the words “KILL CHINA” and “DIE CHINA,” photos included with the post show.
In the wake of the Atlanta-area shootings, Stephanie Cheung took to social media to organize a group for Santa Cruz’s...
"(M)y thoughts you may ask?” Tao wrote in the post, “disgust, fear, and sadness that someone was watching and waiting for me to come back to what they may think was a joke.”
She wrote that she wanted to post the incident, which she said has been reported to authorities, to bring awareness to the Santa Cruz area “that racism and hate exists in our small little town that I’ve called home the past 24 years.”
“I never knew such a thing would occur in a place that has made me feel so safe and secure,” she added. “Anti-asian harassment and violence has surged across the state and country since the beginning of the pandemic. News stories the past months have created so much fear in our community and in return silences us.”
Through the thriving Watsonville-Santa Cruz chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, Watsonville’s Mas and...
Efforts to reach Tao were unsuccessful Wednesday evening.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Ashley Keehn confirmed to Lookout Thursday morning that the agency was investigating “this extremely disturbing and disgusting incident,” which she said happened at about 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the 1400 block of Portola Drive. Keehn also told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that the agency was seeking witnesses or surveillance footage to get a description of the suspect.
With an ongoing national reckoning over the treatment of Asian Americans, Lookout assembled a group of Santa Cruz area...
Tao in her post said that as a proud Japanese-American citizen, she learned “that staying silent is not the solution.” Instead, she advocated for educating oneself, speaking up and coming together, and encouraged social media users to check out accounts and fund non-profit organizations that fight against Asian hate.
The incident comes less than a month after hundreds of members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and allies gathered in front of the county administration building for a vigil to honor the victims of the shootings in Atlanta and other AAPI hate crime victims across the country.
Santa Cruz playwright and actor Steve “Spike” Wong, a former schoolteacher, talked to Lookout Santa Cruz about the...
9:44 AM, Apr. 22, 2021: This story was updated with information from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office about the incident.