Students from Franklin High School organized and led a rally at a busy South Seattle intersection outside of their school on Saturday afternoon in light of rising anti-Asian hate crimes and violence. 

Over 200 supporters of the Stop AAPI Hate rally dressed in red and waved signs along the sidewalk and overpass at Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. AAPI is an acronym that stands for people of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent.

Frederick Von Brandenfels, 17, a senior at Franklin High School who is of Chinese descent, said he wanted to organize something to bring people together, outside of just the school community. “You see your own kind being injured and killed,” he said. “What can I do to make sure that our community knows that they matter?”

A recent case nearby in South Seattle galvanized the decision to hold a rally, said Von Brandenfels.  A 51-year-old man was arrested in late March and charged with a hate crime for allegedly screaming profanities and throwing items at cars in two separate incidents targeting Asian women and children. “That was a turning point for us,” he said. “You can see it more close to us.”

Franklin High School Principal Drew O’Connell said that the rally was entirely student-led. “That’s what makes me so proud every day.”

It was the first time Von Brandenfels had organized a rally like this, he said, though he’s attended others for Earth Day and Black Lives Matter. 

“My main goal is, I want people to feel loved…there is somebody out there that says you matter.”