Community gathers to mourn Atlanta shootings in Chinatown

Lun Fong holds her sign and a rose honoring the Atlanta shooting victims while community members give speeches about the value of protecting elders and each other at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 22, 2021 in Chinatown, San Francisco. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Lun Fong holds her sign and a rose honoring the Atlanta shooting victims at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)Lun Fong holds her sign and a rose honoring the Atlanta shooting victims at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
The Chinese Progressive Association, The Community Coalition for Safety and Justice, other Asian American organizations, and Asian community members gathered at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown to paint, make kites, write letters, and come together as a community in response to the tragic loss of lives to gun violence in the Atlanta area, including six Asian women. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)The Chinese Progressive Association, The Community Coalition for Safety and Justice, other Asian American organizations, and Asian community members gathered at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown to paint, make kites, write letters, and come together as a community in response to the tragic loss of lives to gun violence in the Atlanta area, including six Asian women. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Maya Fernandez makes art honoring her family at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)Maya Fernandez makes art honoring her family at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Felix Fang flies the kite he made at the	Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown. The butterfly image used for the kite represents the victims of the recent mass shooting in Atlanta, released, and flying to freedom away from violence, according to the volunteers at the Chinese Culture Center. Both butterflies and kites symbolize release in Chinese culture. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)Felix Fang flies the kite he made at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown. The butterfly image used for the kite represents the victims of the recent mass shooting in Atlanta, released, and flying to freedom away from violence, according to the volunteers at the Chinese Culture Center. Both butterflies and kites symbolize release in Chinese culture. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
The Chinese Progressive Association, The Community Coalition for Safety and Justice, other Asian American organizations, and Asian community members gathered at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown to paint, make kites, write letters, and come together as a community in response to the tragic loss of lives to gun violence in the Atlanta area, including six Asian women. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)The Chinese Progressive Association, The Community Coalition for Safety and Justice, other Asian American organizations, and Asian community members gathered at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown to paint, make kites, write letters, and come together as a community in response to the tragic loss of lives to gun violence in the Atlanta area, including six Asian women. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
The Chinese Progressive Association, The Community Coalition for Safety and Justice, other Asian American organizations, and Asian community members gathered at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown to paint, make kites, write letters, and come together as a community in response to the tragic loss of lives to gun violence in the Atlanta area, including six Asian women. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)The Chinese Progressive Association, The Community Coalition for Safety and Justice, other Asian American organizations, and Asian community members gathered at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown to paint, make kites, write letters, and come together as a community in response to the tragic loss of lives to gun violence in the Atlanta area, including six Asian women. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Tiffanie Lee paints her message on the ground at Portsmouth Square event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)Tiffanie Lee paints her message on the ground at Portsmouth Square event on March 20, 2021 in Chinatown. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Vinny Eng, Flora Chan, and Chiyon Won provide community support to rally attendees. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)Vinny Eng, Flora Chan, and Chiyon Won provide community support to rally attendees. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
The Chinese Culture Center provided art supplies and equipment to engage participants of all ages at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)The Chinese Culture Center provided art supplies and equipment to engage participants of all ages at the Bay Area Asian Community Healing Event. (By Camille Cohen/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

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.

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