As of recently, the media has been covering the sudden increase in attacks against Asian Americans. Throughout the country, this group of people, particularly elders, have been experiencing injustice. This excessive amount of violence began emerging in January and has the public questioning such anti-asian behavior.
An 84 year-old Thai man, Vicha Ratanapakdee, was violently shoved onto the concrete during a morning walk in San Francisco. He died later that day. Another 91 year-old man faced a similar hate crime in Oakland’s China Town. In New York, a 61 year-old man was slashed in the face. No group of people deserves this hateful treatment and it’s not right to allow such terrible crimes to be enacted upon some of our community’s most vulnerable individuals. Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Stop AAPI Hate co-founder, states “There’s something going on across the nation that really sadly reminds us of some of our past experiences as a community.” Meanwhile, the president of the Oakland China Town Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Chan, says “Our seniors are afraid to walk their own streets.” The situation as a whole is a call to action and the victims need to be advocated for.
Thankfully, voices are not going unheard. States like California and New York have established special response units to handle crimes against the Asian community. However, Stop AAPI Hate and other similar community-run organizations are calling for more action than just increased surveillance. They have vocalized that increased policing just leads to more discrimination against people of color as well as higher rates of imprisonment which brings to question if these units are really a good idea. Furthermore, younger individuals are taking to social media to spread the word and share victims’ experiences.
While these incidents are in no way justified and must be dealt with immediately, the Asian community is banding together in bittersweet unity. Lai Wa Wu, policy and alliance director for San-Francisco’s Chinese Progressive Association, shares “It’s been really heartening in some sense, to see the level of solidarity and the amount of support, not only from our own communities in the city and across the Bay, but from Black and Brown communities.”