By Denise Yan
From March 2020 to March 2021, there have been 6,603 hate crimes targeted towards the Asian and Pacific Islander community, and these numbers are still rising. The AAPI community is no stranger to racist comments, but in recent news, there has been increasing numbers of violent and racist hate crimes that have grown past verbal abuse.
Hate crimes in February have devastated Asian families with the rise of death and assault targeting the elderly. Various attacks followed the arrival of Lunar New Year, a week to celebrate family, luck, and happiness; in Oakland, CA’s Chinatown community, a 91 year-old man was pushed violently to the ground. Shortly after this attack, the same suspect assaulted a 60 year-old man and a 55 year-old woman— both victims needed to be hospitalized. In San Francisco, an 84 year-old Thai man, Vichar Ratanapakdee, was pushed to the ground and killed during his morning neighborhood walk. In New York, an Asian American woman was violently pushed onto the ground. In Atlanta, Robert Aaron Long killed eight individuals, including 6 Asian American women, in three different Asian spas to “eliminate sexual temptations.” And in the most recent news, two elderly Asian women were stabbed and hospitalized on May 4, 2021.
In response to the assaults in Oakland, volunteers have offered to accompany those who feel unsafe walking alone— amidst this risky time, having a friend with you can be a great deterrent for attackers. Along with this, letting your friends and family know where you are going before you go out (and sharing your location with them) allows them to monitor you and quickly help if there is any trouble.
Here are some other ways to stay safe:
- Be aware of your surroundings — Make sure to take off any headphones or earbuds when walking alone.
- Try to stay in a populated and brightly lit area.
- Get to your destination as soon as possible. — Don't make stops; lock your car as soon as you step in, and don't engage with strangers on the street.
- Carry your cellphone with you at all times.
- Always carry your identification with you.
Change requires support and equity from everyone. Moving forward, please encourage your friends and family to be cautious of their environment and stay safe.
Hate is a virus.
Published on June 6, 2021