Assemblymember Phil Ting speaks alongside Assemblymember David Chiu and state Sen. Scott Wiener at a news conference in support of the Asian American Pacific Islander community at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown on Monday, March 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Assemblymember Phil Ting speaks alongside Assemblymember David Chiu and state Sen. Scott Wiener at a news conference in support of the Asian American Pacific Islander community at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown on Monday, March 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

State, city leaders hold Chinatown rally to call for unity against racist attacks

State and city leaders gathered in San Francisco’s Chinatown on Monday morning to stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the wake of multiple hate crimes targeting them recently.

The Monday rally comes less than a week after eight people, six of whom were Asian women, were gunned down in Atlanta, and as several other recent attacks have occurred in Bay Area against elderly Asian victims.

The barrage of racist attacks nationwide has created a wave of fear among the AAPI community, with many fearful to leave their homes.

During the rally, held at Portsmouth Square, state Sen. Scott Wiener, and Assemblymembers David Chiu and Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, condemned the attacks.

“We have to acknowledge that what happened in Georgia last week and what has been happening around the country in terms of the brutal and vicious attacks on members of the community, in particular our seniors, these did not just randomly happen,” Wiener said.

“Over the last year, we have seen extreme racist rhetoric against our Asian community, including from the former president of the U.S.,” Wiener said, referring to former President Donald Trump, who has been accused of fueling racial tensions by continuously referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus.”

“Words have consequences and with the rise of White supremacy and xenophobia, the attacks on communities of color, the attacks on immigrants, this is now continuing to affect our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities,” Wiener said. “We need to stop with the scapegoating and the blaming and the attacks on our brothers and sisters.”

“Anti-Asian hate has been rooted deep in our country. This is not something that just happened this past week in Atlanta, this is not something that has just been happening this past year, this is a phenomenon that stretches back to the founding of this state,” Chiu said. “So many in our community are fearful. We are angry and we need to take action. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. This has to be a reflection point. Enough is enough.”

“The only way to stamp out hate is to come together,” Ting said. “The response is the most important thing. As a city, as a community and as a state, we are coming together, locking arms-in-arms and saying as community, not just as an AAPI community, but as a California and San Francisco community, no to the hate.”

“We’re committed to keeping people safe. It’s not an easy task, made difficult by the actions taken by people who have hate in their heart,” San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said. “We’ll do the job when there are crimes that have been committed, but let’s make sure that we all look out for each other as we move forward.”

Monday’s rally follows several similar marches and rallies that occurred throughout the country over the weekend, including a Sunday march that culminated with a rally outside of San Francisco City Hall, which drew hundreds of supporters.

The organization Stop AAPI Hate, founded by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University, has tracked more than 3,800 instances around the nation of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination and bullying toward Asian Americans over the past year.

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