Rally, vigil promoting healing and solidarity held in Oakland after Chinatown attacks
OAKLAND, Calif. - The attacks on Asian Americans in the streets of the Bay Area continues to haunt many.
Stop APPI-Hate reports that more than 700 anti-Asian hate incidents have been reported since the start of the pandemic.
On Saturday afternoon, several cultural groups gathered in Madison park to offer support, healing and solidarity.
"We really wanted to hold this vigil today to really honor the pain, the feelings of anger and sadness and grief that people are feeling," says Vivian Huang, Asian Pacific Environmental Network.
"I think unity is the ultimate goal but right now there is a deeper issue on the violence and where it’s coming from and why that needs to be addressed," says Eric Lawson
He and his wife, Monthanus, lost her 84-year-old father, Vicha Ratanpakdee, in late January in an unprovoked attacked.
Oakland Mayor, Libby Schaaf, and Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong announced Saturday that they are restoring police liasons, shut down by the pandemic, to serve non-english speakers in the Chinatown and Fruitvale neighborhoods.
"We want to build trust, we want to build access to these communities that are particularly vulnerable right now," says Mayor Schaaf.
But, at the rally on Saturday, community leaderes shared their aspiration to address community safety by addressing community concerns not increasing police prescence.
"There is solidarity among Asian and black folks who are coming together here to proclaim that we keep us safe," said Zach Norris from Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
One solution is a restortative justice program, provuding the opportunity to bring assailants to justice by allowing victims to confront them while also keeping them out of jail.
"What we’ve seen is a cycle of poverty, violence and incarceration, is actually worsened by putting more police on the streets and the real solution exist within the community," Norris.
It's the first of many long discussions in a journey toward healingfor the entire community.
"It’s also so important that we continue to work in solidarity to advance the solutions that we know that’s going to advance our community to be able to come together and thrive," Huang.
Another rally is planned to take place in San Francisco at the Civic Center Plaza from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.