In the latest in a disturbing spike in anti-Asian attacks, an Olympic athlete from Orange County was in a park training for the summer games when a man targeted her in an incident that she captured on video.
- Loser. Go home. Stupid--
- In yet another racist attack against an Asian-American. An Orange County woman recorded a man screaming at her at a park in Orange.
- I was shocked. I didn't know what to do. And it kind of slowly escalated in a way where he got close to me. And he just continued to keep yelling for no reason.
- Not for your boyfriend. You're talking to.
- There is no racial slurs at the beginning. But as he got in his car, he would yell out like Chinese, sashimi.
- Sakura Kokuma says she was working out at Grijalva park. Just like she does every day, as she prepares for the Olympics. That's right she's representing our country in the Olympic games this summer. As the first American to qualify for the Olympic games in karate.
It's why she says she was so calm. She knew if she had to, she could fight back. She says, the man came out of nowhere and started harassing her for nearly 20 minutes.
- You know what if this was my mom. What if this was my grandma. That's where it got scary. Because I know I knew that I was able to handle myself with a situation. By being calm.
You know you don't want to be aggressive against somebody who is being aggressive. No. You have to remain calm and kind of keep distance.
But my worry was what if this was somebody else.
- In 2020, there were 10 times as many hate incidents and crimes against Asian-Americans in Orange County. That's according to the Orange County human relations commission.
Just last month, an elderly Asian-American woman in Leisure World received a letter on the day of her husband's funeral. It said his death was a good thing. Because it meant one less Asian in the country.
The city of Seal Beach in Orange County leaders are trying to empower residents to report harassment and hate crimes. They've created a confidential hotline and website.
Looking back, Kokumai says, she wouldn't have done anything differently. But she wishes other people at the very busy park would have cared enough to help.
- It wasn't only about him just verbally harassing and threatening me, it was more of the people around that didn't bother to say or do anything that scared me the most.
- Kukomai urges people to step in. And help others in distress, by calling police or getting the victim to safety. It could potentially save the life of a fellow American.