FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — It’s been a year since Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which forever changed Californians’ lives. 

To remember and reflect upon the pandemic’s devastating toll and the resiliency of Californians who lent a helping hand during a tough year, community leaders within the Asian American community in Orange County held a special commemoration event on Thursday.

The group Nailing it for America led the event at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley. It consists of volunteers who came together at the start of the pandemic to gather and donate personal protective equipment to frontline workers and healthcare workers when there was a mass shortage of PPE. 

The event also paid tribute to the more than 53,000 Californians who lost their lives to the coronavirus. The number of deaths exceeds the total number of U.S. military casualties from the Vietnam War, which spanned from 1964 to 1975. 

Since the start of the pandemic, Asians and Asian Americans in Orange County have experienced a record number of hate crimes.

According to OC Human Relations, a nonprofit organization that receives and tracks these crimes, the county has seen these reports increase 10 times the amount it received in 2019. The reports also have increased in other Asian communities throughout the country. 

To address the rise in crimes and display unity, community leaders placed hundreds of luminaries to form a “Stop Asian Hate” message on a field at Mile Square Park. 

Several groups and organizations joined Nailing it for America for the event.

For more information, visit