Nations first Chinatown fights for survival amid Asian hate, clings to hope

By Marjorie Miranda
May 2, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, CA— It has been more than a year since the first stay-at-home order was implemented due to COVID-19.

At the beginning of 2020, a new virus was reported, now known as COVID-19, was emerging from Wuhan, China. During this time,  231 people were reported to have died within the first month of 2020. As the disease began to spread throughout the world, countries began to close, and economies began to collapse. All blame was going towards China and its people because the virus originated and spread quickly in Wuhan, China. Now, hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have risen in numerous cities across the county.

Back in March 2020, a website called “Stop AAPI Hate” was created for Asian Americans across the country to report any hate crimes that they have encountered since the announcement of the lockdown. The page is updated at least every month. In their first week, the website had 673 incident reports of hate crimes.

The state of California has one of the biggest Asian populations in the country with most of the reported hate crimes coming from the San Francisco area. It is home to 30.5% of Asian Americans who live in the U.S. and has the oldest Chinatown in the country.

In February, a video of a 91-year-old man being pushed to the concrete floor in broad daylight went viral, which sparked the Stop Asian Hate movement. Since then, many activists, celebrities, and politicians have condemned the hate incident. The Stop Asian Hate hashtag is also now being used widely on social media.

In the past couple of months, there has been video footage of hate crimes targeting the elderly Asian American community. Some of these incidents have included stealing, pushing them to the concrete floor, spitting, coughing, etc. This has caused a massive uproar from the community and has made people go out to the streets to rally.

One young activist that has stood up for what she believes in is Ashlyn So. The 13-year-old girl from the Bay Area had seen enough of the hate crimes that were going on in her community. With the help of her mother, she decided to organize her own rally in San Mateo to bring more awareness about what’s going on with the Asian American community.

“I was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and within a week we organized it,” said So. “I posted it on NextDoor and we got help from different organizations right away. It was amazing to see the amount of support from different ages and cultures to come out and support this.”

Not only did she want to bring awareness, but Ashlyn has also created a petition for local school districts to include Asian American history into the school’s curriculum.

But for many in the community, the turning point was the shooting in Atlanta where a 21-year-old gunman killed eight people, six of them being women of Asian descent. This hate crime made activists like Jenn Li stand up and defend Asian Women.

“The one attack that left me different was the Atlanta victims,” said Li. “It’s hard for me to cry because I feel like I can’t be soft, but that shit hit different as an Asian woman.”

She continued to rally behind the women that were brutality murdered because of a man that was “having a bad day.”

People from all ages have gone out to the streets to protest these hateful incidents. But now they are looking for more help when it comes to local officials.

Another local young activist, Joshua Sanchez, wants to see the state with the highest population of Asian Americans to do more and provide more resources when it comes to people getting attacked.

“When it comes down to California, in my beliefs politicians don’t do enough,” said Sanchez. “It’s upsetting how I can see my friends and my community hurting and the Bay Area in general.”

A summary of the overall reports from the first week of http://www.stopaapihate.org

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