As a child, NBA guard Jordan Clarkson would watch his father in the front yard trucks for a living.
When Clarkson, the 2020-21 Sixth Man of the Year Award winner, saw photos on social media last week of the Yum Yum food truck in Salt Lake City littered with anti-Asian hate speech and pictures, it struck a nerve.
Clarkson, himself a proud Filipino-American, was just one of the thousands of social media users who saw the racist slurs and pictures sprayed over the well-known Filipino food truck last week. Amid a pandemic that has seen a sharp rise in hate crimes against Asian American Americans, Clarkson knew he couldn’t sit on the sidelines for this case.
“There’s no room for that right now,” said Clarkson. “It’s been tough, tough years on this earth, this country, this world. There is a lot going on. I feel like we are together, and anyone who finds peace will make things in this world a lot more enjoyable. We have no more room for hatred. That has to go out the window very quickly. “
With the help of the vehicle wrapping company Identity Graphx, the 29-year-old paid for the interior cleaning, detailing and designing a brand new exterior for the truck that will be unveiled tomorrow at the celebration of Philippine Independence Day in Salt Lake.
It hurt me deeply to see that Salt Lake’s @yumyumasian Food truck was recently devastated – I know the pain that hateful language and racism cause. With the help of @identitygraphix we will restore the truck and hopefully lift the spirits of Ben and his family !! #StopAsianHate pic.twitter.com/HLfzX7AaEc
– Jordan Clarkson (@JordanClarksons) June 9, 2021
The organization stepped in to support the efforts of Clarkson and local businesses and politicians by inviting Ben Pierce, co-owner of the Yum Yum Food Truck, and his family to game 2 of Jazz’s Western Conference semifinals series against the Los Angeles Clippers .
During a break in the third quarter, the Jazz presented Pierce and his family with a signed Jordan Clarkson jersey on the Jumbotron. A sold out Vivint Arena gave the family deafening applause.
After this @JordanClarksons helped the Filipino owners of the devastated Yum Yum Food Truck, the @utahjazz and JC welcomed the family to Game 2. #RepublikaNgNBA # Jordan6larkson pic.twitter.com/4DHIwxGw9z
– NBA Philippines (@NBA_Philippines) June 11, 2021
With the dramatic increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans, many Asian Americans are currently living in fear.
According to Stop AAPI Hate, there were more than 6,600 incident reports from March 2020 to March 2021. The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism reports that Asia-American hate crimes rose 145 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.
“It was powerful, and it was a lot to me,” said Clarkson. “But you know, I am learning and doing a lot of things to try to catch up on a lot of those things. As a young league player, you don’t really pay attention to a lot of these things. As you get older, you really take on that role for who you are. It really hits home in these times. “