Reports of hate crimes have increased over the last year, but the high-profile stories coming out of New York and California can feel separate and distant to us in the interior of the country. Two recent stories from Utah, though, show that the problem exists in our own backyard.
The food truck, which serves Filipino fusion cuisine, and the vandalism was put in the spotlight when Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson, who has Filipino heritage, was among many locals and businesses to pitch in and help get the truck immediately cleaned up and restored.
It was another act of hate that hit close to home and had me thinking about my friends and family in the local Filipino community. The news also comes just days before Philippine Independence Day on Saturday, June 12. Yum Yum Food Truck had recently posted that they would be serving food at a local celebration.
With every new story the sting and sadness don’t lessen. It will always be painful to see others attacked for the way they look or what they believe.
In this instance, the community was quick to rally around the victims and show support on social media and by quickly working together to not only return the truck to its former glory but make it better than before with fresh paint, detailing and a brand new logo.
Acts of hate can be swift and destructive. Acts of love are faster and stronger.
The initial act of vandalism may have only been committed by one or two people full of anger, but many more opted to show love. Just days later, the original post from Yum Yum has more than 2000 reactions and close to two hundred comments of love and support, not to mention the attention brought by Clarkson’s notoriety.
Such an outpouring of support is noble and welcome. It’s evidence there is more positivity and inclusion out there than misguided or bigoted thoughts.
Yet, the whole instance retains an undercurrent of disappointment because it never should have happened in the first place.
The increase in hate crimes is not something a problem exclusive to other states or regions. It is here in Utah. It’s everywhere. And it can’t be ignored by those wishing that was the case.
Maybe reading these stories and hearing about these incidents is growing tedious. I’m tired, too. I’m tired of explaining to others what it’s like to be targeted because of the way you look. Tired of having to see the hateful words spelled out and directed at me and the people I love. Tired of the lived reality that such beliefs could be held by someone on my street or that I attend church services with.
It is tiring. But it matters. And something should not have to happen to you for it to matter to you.
What happened with the World Famous Yum Yum Food Truck this week is an example of the dangers of being a perceived other. I have never known the Filipino community to be hostile. In fact, they are often some of the most welcoming and loving people anywhere. The truck did nothing to provoke such an attack, but simply existing was enough of a threat to some.
The response to the vandalism is an example of what real inclusion can look like in practice. A community immediately came together not just online, but through real tangible efforts to preserve and help those in need — to help one of their own.
The community defended victims not just with words and heartfelt messages, but with actions showing the vandals that it was they who did not belong.
Weeds of distrust and hatred are in our own backyard, but together we have the power to pull them out.