A crowd of some 500 people — made up of multicultural members from Black, Brown, and other communities — gathered in Oakland's Madison Park Saturday afternoon to protest the growing number of attacks against Asian Americans amid the pandemic.
The past eleven or so months have seen an increase in physical violence (and verbal racists outbursts, both IRL and online) toward Asian Americans — a topic our Madam Vice President addressed just a few days ago.
Moreover, the elderly have been particularly targeted in violent attacks as of late; three Asian American seniors were assaulted in Oakland's Chinatown earlier this month — and a teenager suspected to be responsible for one of the attacks has since been arrested; a Bayview robbery of a senior Asian American almost a year ago still sits as an uncomfortable example of Black-on-Asian racism.
But in an act of solidarity to stand against this hate, a multiracial crowd of hundreds gathered at Oakland’s Madison Park — located in the city's Chinatown — on Saturday afternoon to show support for the reeling community.
"Asian Americans save lives as your doctors, nurses, grocers, farmers, and teachers — we are not the enemy,” read one demonstrator during the rally yesterday, per the Chronicle. “We stand with our neighbors — end white supremacy,” another added; many in attendance wore T-shirts proclaiming “Black-Asian unity.”
The newspaper also noted that others tied large red ribbons on nearby trees as a symbol of unity and hope for the community. And among those in the crowd were members of leaders of local nonprofits.
Amy Ratanapakdee's 84-year-old father died two weeks ago after he was thrown to the ground by a 19-year-old in the Anza Vista neighborhood; the teen suspect is now charged with murder, per the news outlet.
Ratanapakdee’s husband, Eric Lawson, said leaders within different communities need to hold people accountable by making this type of violence unacceptable: “When violent actions are happening over and over again, something needs to happen that’s different."
The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, a coalition of California community-based groups, has recorded more than two dozen recent assaults and robberies in the Bay Area, mirroring a national bend in an increase of hate crimes against older Asian Americans during the pandemic. From last March through the end of 2020, the coalition has documented nearly 3,000 incidents of anti-Asian hate across the country.
Image: Twitter via @APEN4EJ