Hundreds of people rallied in San Francisco’s Chinatown Saturday to mourn the victims of recent shootings in Atlanta that killed eight people including six Asian women.
The event came at a time of heightened fears of anti-Asian prejudice and violence in the community. In addition to the Georgia shootings, there have been several recent attacks targeting elderly Asian women and men, including a fatal and apparently unprovoked Jan. 28 assault on 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee. Most recently, an elderly Chinese woman and Vietnamese man were attacked at Seventh and Market streets, prompting the woman to defend herself and beat her attacker.
While it remains unclear how many of those attacks had racial motivations, they have left community members feelings vulnerable after a year of racist rhetoric blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on China and increased reports of hate incidents.
“At this moment in history, our community feels crippled and helpless,” the Community Coalition for Safety and Justice, the event’s organizer, said in a statement. “That is why the work of addressing the root causes of violence, racism and misogyny has never been more important. We must come together to protect our community members and work towards long-term investments across communities of color that are needed for all our communities to be safe.”
The event is one of a number of marches and rallies planned in the coming days and weeks to response to the Atlanta shootings. On Sunday an LGBTQ+ solidarity march is planned from the Castro, starting at Harvey Milk Plaza at 11 a.m., while another #StopAsianHate event is planned at City Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This afternoon’s event to #StopAAPIHate was testament to the power of community to unite + heal. It’s been a particularly challenging week & it’s on all of us to keep showing up outside of these moments of crisis. Community keeps us safe! Thank you to @CPASF for organizing ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cMBZELd2iG
— Aaron Peskin (@AaronPeskin) March 20, 2021