San Francisco's Asian Community rallies against hate following recent attacks
"Fight Asian Hate," was the rallying cry of more than 100 people who went to San Francisco’s Washington Square Park on Sunday to raise awareness and demand change.
Justin Zhu says he decided to help organize the rally in light of recent attacks.
"We called this rally because in the span of a week, two Asian elders in their 70s were brutally attacked, one inside her home in a senior center, another just blocks away from his home," said Zhu, who helped start Stand With Asian Americans.
"I was brutally attacked and brutally assaulted on November 2, 2019," said Anh Le, the victim of an attack outside an Asian market in Chinatown.
He says San Francisco's former District Attorney’s office reduced his attackers’ charges to misdemeanor battery, a change unacceptable to him.
"I would like to see the new administration under District Attorney Brook Jenkins make the necessary changes in the San Francisco District Attorney’s office so that people who violate the law will be held fully accountable," said Le.
Organizers of Sunday’s rally say they are also calling for a crackdown that includes greater police protection, especially for the elderly.
"We’re here to demand that Chief Scott, within ten days of this rally, host a public town hall so we can come and ask questions to figure out what we’re going to do about Asian violence against our elders," said Zhu.
San Francisco Police officers at the rally in support of the cause say they are doing something about it. Lieutenant Mark Moreno spoke specifically about changes at Central station.
"We’re increasing our patrols. We have extra dedicated foot beat officers, which are here today. They work every day," said Lt. Moreno. "We’re doing some other operations with some of our specialized units in Chinatown and surrounding communities."
The attitude at the rally was that more needs to be done because under the current situation some in the Asian community are too afraid to do something as simple as take a walk through a park.
"For the Asian elders who live here, that is not a reality for them. They cannot go outside. They can’t enjoy the sunshine in the parks because they’re being targeted for who they are," said Zhu.
The rally concluded with a march to Portsmouth Square in Chinatown where the crowd vowed to continue raising their voices until they are heard and changes are made.