The Week of Lunar New Year
Police departments across the country are warning people that there is a chance of increased crime around the Lunar New Year celebrations. Since cash is a customary gift during Lunar New Year, there was a significant increase in robbery-related threats during the multi-day celebration.
Less than a week ago, an elderly Thai man was attacked and killed in the streets of San Francisco, California. While in San Jose, an elderly Vietnamese woman was assaulted and robbed of $1,000. In New York city’s subway, an elderly Filipino elderly was attacked with a box cutter while on his daily route to his workplace. Do you see the pattern? All these incidents are not isolated and they are aimed at the elderly and vulnerable members of the Asian American population. All of these incidences were driven by hate.
On the morning of 28th January, Vicha Ratanapakdee, an elderly Thai American man, was taking his daily walk throughout the Anza Vista neighborhood in San Francisco, California. He was known in his area for his morning walks and vibrant energy. A man across the street from him ran and violently shoved the elderly man onto the ground, hospitalizing Mr. Ratanapakdee. His daughter Monthanus stated, “He never woke up again, I will never see him again.” Mr. Ratanapadee sustained severe brain hemorrhaging and has sadly passed.
19-year-old (Antoine Watson) was arrested on suspicion.
Boarding the L train at Jefferson Station in Brooklyn, New York, sixty-one-year-old Noel Quintana headed to work as an administrative assistant at a nonprofit organization that assists the mentally challenged. In the crowded train, he stood silently, praying the rosary when the man standing next to him kicked his tote bag. Noel moved his tote bag away as to not bother the stranger, but a few moments later, the man did it again.
Suddenly, in a fleeting moment, the man took out a box cutter and slashed it across Quitana’s face. Later, Quintana reported, "I put my hand on my face and when I saw my hand, it was full of blood,".
The Oakland Assault
Yahya Muslim, a suspect in the Oakland Chinatown Elderly assaults, was charged with three counts of assault against elderly people. He is believed to have attacked a 60-year-old man, a 55-year-old woman, and a 91-year old man all on the same day. The District attorney’s office is still continuing the investigation to determine if they have enough evidence to support the hate crime charges.
Back in March 2020
According to Jeung, chair of the Asian Americans studies department at San Francisco State University, “When President Trump began and insisted on using the term 'China virus,' we saw that hate speech really led to hate violence.”
Based on the data that Jeung Russell, the creator of Stop AAPI Hate, collected, ever since COVID-19 began to spread across the country, violence against Asian and Asian Americans has increased tremendously. Some politicians, including former President Donald Trump, blame China for the pandemic. This has been suspected to be one of the main enforcers behind the exponential growth in Anti-Asain hate crimes. “Acts of racist violence lead to increased anxiety and fear in a population that already has higher rates of anxiety and depression related to COVID-19 than other racial groups”, Russell said.
Increased Discrimination and Violent Attacks
It’s clearer than ever that hate crimes against the Asian community have been rising, but just how much have they increased? According to AAPI Hate (a nonprofit organization that runs the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center), harassment, discrimination, and violent attacks have there have been a recorded 2,808 incidents for anti-Asian discrimination across the country in the time period between March 19th, 2021 to Dec 31th, 2020. According to Asian Americans Advancing Justice, there have been a recorded 3,000 hate incidents since late April 2020.
"This increase was cultivated due to the anti-Asian rhetoric about the virus that was publicized, and individuals began to attack Asian New Yorkers, either verbally attack or physical assault," Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison told reporters in August of 2020. These events prompted the NYPD to create an Asian Hate Crimes Task Force.
20th of February
Hundreds of citizens, from New York City and the surrounding Tri-State area, presented themselves in Washington State Park. They took to a walk of solidarity in Chinatown, denouncing recent crimes against the Asian community. According to Rally Held in NYC after an uptick of violence against Asians, the NYPD has been very slow to classify these attacks as hate incidents.
Xenophobia and Violence against Asian and Pacific Islanders
Based on the article, Stop Killing us: Attacks on Asian Americans Highlight rise in hate incidents amid COVID-19, the Biden administration’s words have made a huge difference, but there is more work to be done. President Joe Biden signed an executive action on Tuesday, directing federal agencies to combat xenophobia against the Asian American Pacific Islander community. He stated, “This [attacks against AAPIs] is unacceptable and it’s un-American.”
He assured the people, "I've asked the Department of Justice to strengthen its partnership with the Asian American Pacific Islander community to prevent those hate crimes. I've also asked the Department of Health and Human Services to put out best practices for combating xenophobia in our national response to COVID."
Stop the Hate
Whenever I read, hear, or witness hate, I reflect on Maya Angelou’s words, “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in this world, but has not solved one yet.” There is no greater division between communities than an un-united front. We must stand together, fighting for our fellow Asians and Asian American citizens. Hate will only fuel hate.
To report a hate crime, visit Stop AAPI Hate.
Visit Stop AAPI Hate here: https://stopaapihate.org/