Addressing Anti-Asian Hate During COVID-19
The end of January brought disturbing news to our community, a rise in the already concerning number of unprovoked attacks against Asian Americans who are wrongly blamed for the coronavirus. Even more sickening, a rash of assaults in the Bay Area have involved elderly victims, violently pushed for no reason.
First came the death of an 84-year-old in San Francisco's Anza Vista neighborhood, located in our district. Days later, three incidents in Oakland's Chinatown resulted in more seniors being preyed upon - all seriously injured with the oldest being 91 years old.
In response to these ongoing and escalating cases, I'm proud to have just secured $1.4 million in our early action state budget to confront the problem. The funding will support community outreach and data-gathering efforts by the Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate collaborative, which includes the Asian American Studies Departments at San Francisco State and UCLA, Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON). In order to stop the problem, we have to know how big it is, and documenting as much as we can is crucial to helping us address the rise in violence.
Instrumental to the work is the StopAAPIHate.org website, which launched nearly a year ago, creating a portal for victims to self-report their experiences. It has received notice of more than 2,800 incidents through 2020. In the Bay Area alone, more than 700 anti-Asian attacks have been logged.
As much as I'm disheartened by the numbers, I am also encouraged by some of the reactions emerging in the aftermath. Communities have come together to take a stand against hate. Groups have even formed to support the victims and help other residents feel safe.
These are the types of efforts that will combat hate and strengthen our communities. Racism is not a problem that can be easily fixed with increased police presence or harsher prison sentences. We must work together to conquer COVID-19, not point fingers.
Assemblymember, 19th District