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Korean American Santa Clara Council Member Says He Was Denied Chance To Speak At 'Stop Asian Hate' Rally

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A Santa Clara city council member, who is Korean American, said he was denied a chance to speak at a "Stop Asian Hate" rally held by other city leaders. Maria Medina reports. (3/31/21)

Video Transcript

- New at 11:00, a Santa Clara city council member who wanted to speak during a Stop Asian Hate rally was told he couldn't, and he's Asian.

- "KPIX 5's" Maria Medina spoke to the council member tonight.

[NON-ENGLISH SINGING]

MARINA MEDINA: Today's Stop Asian Hate rally in Santa Clara was hosted by the city's mayor and--

KATHY WATANABE: My name is Kathy Watanabe,

MARINA MEDINA: --Councilmember Kathy Watanabe. but it's not the rally making headlines tonight. It's what Watanabe said instead.

KEVIN PARK: Was shocked, but not amazed that-- that this happened.

MARINA MEDINA: Kevin Park, who is also a Santa Clara council member, says he asked Watanabe if he could speak at the podium after a list of others had their chance. Watanabe's response was recorded on a Facebook Livestream of the event.

KATHY WATANABE: No, I'm sorry, no, this is my event, so, that's OK. Thank you, anyway. Thank you for being here. I appreciate the support.

MARINA MEDINA: Park says he learned of the meeting yesterday and RSVped as a maybe. Still, he doesn't understand why that would mean he wasn't allowed to speak. After all he, says he's the only Korean-American on the council.

KEVIN PARK: It was about unity. It was about togetherness and-- and openness and solidarity. And I feel that the actions hijacked the-- you know, theme.

- Maria, were you able to reach Councilmember Watanabe tonight to get her side of what happened?

MARINA MEDINA: Yeah, Liz. Watanabe didn't want to go on camera, but she did release a statement explaining the rally only had a permit to run for an hour, and there was only enough time for the scheduled speakers. Now in the same breath, Watanabe says, if Park had said he was coming, she would have added him as a speaker. Liz.

- All right, Maria, thank you.