Alarming rise in anti-Asian violence in the Bay Area

Mandy Wong, Senior Editor

Hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise as some blame China for causing the pandemic. Memorably, an 84-year-old Thai-American man was struck in the head in San Francisco Chinatown, the man later dying of his injuries. Similarly, a 91-year-old Asian American forcefully shoved to the ground in Oakland Chinatown was hospitalized for his injuries.

“As an Asian American growing up near Asian communities, seeing my fellow community members being attacked is heartbreaking. Especially with the COVID pandemic, there is an increased danger when it comes to these acts of hate,” said Anonymous Asian American high schooler in Oakland, where since March of last year, more than 55 hate crimes have occurred.

Though hate crimes often occur in San Francisco and Oakland Chinatowns due to the larger Asian population, the problem is hardly confined to those areas. Stop AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Hate project has reported more than 700 incidents taking place throughout just the Bay Area since March of last year.

As part of the larger AB85 pandemic budget bill passed on Monday, California set aside $1.4 million for projects like Stop AAPI Hate to track and prevent anti-Asian hate crimes.

“Despite the possible debate of labeling these as “hate crimes” towards Asians, there’s also a trend where Asian elders who are attacked generally don’t know how to defend themselves or speak up, which overtime, does demoralize and devalue the spirit of our community,” said Anonymous.

The feeling that violence against them is invisible prevents many from speaking out. 

“In general, I feel as if the general public and mass media sources do not seem to care about these hate crimes. Although I have seen a few posts on TikTok and also on Instagram about the necessity of addressing hate crimes, it seems as if nobody seems to notice or care for that matter,” said Emily Yang, a member of Dear Asian Youth (DAY), an organization supporting minority groups by acting as educators and activists. 

To many Asian Americans, greater awareness of hate crimes and their effects on the Asian American population are the first steps to minimizing the amount of hate crimes.

”I think the increased violence has affected the Asian community a lot. As an Asian American, I’m even starting to get scared going out. Someone shouldn’t fear for their life when going out in public just because they’re Asian,” said Marina Lee (‘21).

Through organizations like DAY, empowered Asian American youth hope to be the driving force that sparks change. 

“As Asian Americans, I believe we are to act as a bridge between the people of our culture and America. Rather than allowing our elders to accept this behavior, and possibly cause more racial division, we, as the younger generation, hold a significant responsibility in protecting them and allowing their traditions and culture to peacefully dwell in such a diverse country,” said Anonymous.