After a GoFundMe that was set up last week to raise funds to cover medical expenses for a 75-year-old woman who was seen beaten and bruised in an attack on Market Street — during which she walloped her attacker with a stick as well — raised over $900,000, the woman says she'll be donating the money back to the Asian American community.
The crowdfunding campaign was set up by John Chen, the grandson of the injured woman, Xiao Zhen Xie, and within a day of the widely publicized incident — with video posted to Twitter of its immediate aftermath — the campaign had raised $300,000. By Friday, that sum had more than doubled. And as of Tuesday, the number had risen over $903,000, when the original goal had been $50,000.
Xie was attacked near U.N. Plaza last Wednesday along with an 83-year-old Asian man also nearby. Video of the aftermath showed Xie screaming in the direction of the attacker, who at that point was on a stretcher and bleeding from his head, and wielding a large stick. Later reports explained that a security guard in the area had physically detained the suspect, identified as 39-year-old Steven Jenkins, and it's unclear if Jenkins needed to be hospitalized for his injuries or what police referred to as an "unrelated medical condition."
Just came upon an attack on an elderly Asian woman on Market Street San Francisco. Effort I got more details pic.twitter.com/5o8r0eeHE2— Dennis O'Donnell (@DennisKPIX) March 17, 2021
Xie ended up with two black eyes, and one eye continued bleeding for days after.
Chen wrote of his grandmother, "I am amazed by her bravery," and asked for donations to help her recovery — saying she was a cancer survivor and now may need treatment for PTSD.
GoFundMe said Thursday that this had become the most-viewed campaign on the platform, and donations have come in from more than 30,000 people across multiple continents, per the Chronicle.
Chen posted an update on the GoFundMe page Monday saying, "When we visited our grandma yesterday and today her overall mental and physical health has improved. Her eye is no longer swelled to the point of not being able to open it."
He continued to say that Xie did not want to keep the money that had been donated, now as it nears $1 million.
"She said we must not summit to racism and we must fight to the death if necessary," Chen said. "She also stated multiple times to donate all the funds generated in this GoFundMe back to the Asian American community to combat racism. She insists on making this decision saying this issue is bigger than Her."
It's not clear whether Chen plans to reserve any of the funds to cover expenses for which the campaign was originally intended, nor is it clear where the money may specifically be donated.
"This is my grandma, grandpa, and our family’s decision," he writes. "We hope everyone can understand our decision."
The attack drew international attention as it happened one day after a deadly mass shooting in Atlanta that killed six Asian women, and amid a national uptick in violent crimes against Asian Americans.
San Francisco police say they are still working to determine if race was a factor in the case of last Wednesday's attack on Xie and the other man.