SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - A handful of Bay Area elected officials and community leaders gathered Monday in San Francisco's Portsmouth Square to denounce the wave of attacks against Asian Americans.
"We have an epidemic of anti-Asian hate right now," said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).
Assemblymembers Ting, David Chiu and state Senator Scott Wiener were joined by Asian community leaders for the news conference calling for an end the violence and urging people to report any incidents.
"We are coming together, locking arm-in-arm," said Ting. "Saying as a community, not just an AAPI community, but as a California and San Francisco community, we’re saying no to hate."
Over the weekend, people in the Bay Area and nationwide rallied in solidarity with the AAPI community. The gatherings follow the murders of eight people at Atlanta-area spas. Six of the victims were women of Asian descent.
"We need to take action," said Assemblymember Chiu (D-San Francisco). "Thoughts and prayers are not enough, this has to be an inflection point, enough is enough."
Research from the nonprofit, "Stop AAPI Hate" shows nearly 3,800 anti-Asian incidents were reported over the last year. This includes the recent attack on 76-year-old Xiao Zhen Xie on San Francisco's Market street.
A community leader who's helping the family says Xie's eye is still bleeding and the emotional wounds run deeper.
"She’s really scared," said Sarah Wan, the executive director of the Community Youth Center of San Francisco. "She doesn’t even know whether she can leave the home anymore, because she’s scared something might happen to her."
Xie's family started a GoFundMe page for her and it has received tremendous community support. Wan says the family is overwhelmed and grateful by all of the support and attention.
Lawmakers at the state and national level have introduced a number of bills to direct resources towards combating hate crimes.
Community leaders are asking people to continue reporting incidents and to look out for the most vulnerable.
"It’s not acceptable," said Wan. "If they don’t feel safe, we don’t feel safe, this shouldn’t be a community where they don’t feel like they have the freedom to walk around."