By: NIAH MADIGAN
The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) released a report “A Rising Tide of Hate and Violence Against Asian Americans in New York During COVID-19: Impact, Causes, Solutions”, which details the rise of anti-Asian violence in New York City during the pandemic.
“Across the country, there were more than 2,500 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents related to COVID-19 between March and September 2020,” the report reads. “And this number understates the actual number of anti-Asian hate incidents because most incidents are not reported.” In the San Francisco Bay Area, a recent surge of xenophobic violence has left one person dead and others severely injured.
A 64-year-old grandmother was assaulted and robbed just last week in San Jose. In Oakland’s Chinatown, a 91-year-old man was hospitalized with serious injuries after being shoved to the ground. In January, a 52-year-old woman was shot in the head with a flare gun. And 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee died in the hospital two days after a man ran into him at full speed, smashing his body into the concrete. These attacks in the bay area are just one example of the rise in national hate crimes against elderly Asian Americans in the pandemic. Nearly 3000 anti-Asian happenings across 47 states and the District of Columbia have been reported from last March through the end of 2020.
New York has also shown many transportation-related discrimination. “People wouldn’t pick up Asian Americans,” Russel Jeung, Chair and Professor of the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University says. “Those are civil right violations.”
Some members of the community have taken matters into their own hands. Half a dozen volunteer groups have offered to protect businesses and older residents when they shop, says Carl Chan, head of Oakland’s Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
The attacks both in the Bay Area and nationwide have led to the support from celebrities. Actor and director Daniel Wu has made an effort to stop the attacks. “Racist rhetoric from the pandemic has targeted us as being the reason for the coronavirus,” he said. “Asians across the board have been targeted by racial slurs, being attacked, being pushed around, being spat on.”
The mayor, police chief, and district attorney of San Francisco have all denounced the crimes and vowed to take action, writes the NPR. And across the bay in Oakland, police have announced they’ve added foot and car patrols and set up a mobile command post in Chinatown.