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Georgia massacre fuels fears of attacks on Asians in San Francisco Bay Area

Massacre in Georgia fuels fears of attacks on Asian community in San Francisco, frequent xenophobic and racist attacks.

san Francisco community
Pamela Cruz Peninsula 360 Press [P360P].

Every day, fear and uncertainty grows among members of the Asian-American community throughout the country, as xenophobic and racist attacks against them are increasingly continuous, due to the ignorance of many, who believe that because they are from the continent where the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerged, they are responsible for the pandemic that today afflicts the world.

The recent attack at a spa area in Atlanta, Georgia, that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent, has reignited the debate in the country over hate crimes against people with Asian roots, which have reached nearly 3,800 nationwide since the pandemic began, according to a report released Tuesday by the Stop AAPI Hate organization.

The San Francisco State University-based project, which asks members of Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities across the country to self-report acts of hate and discrimination, found that, of those attacks, 1,226 incidents occurred in California and 708 in the Bay Area alone. 

The organization also notes that the most incidents in the Bay Area - 292 - took place in San Francisco, while the cities with the second and third highest number of attacks were San Jose - 58 - and Oakland - 55.

The report issued by the organization in February this year highlighted that, from March 19 to December 31, 2020, reported attacks nationwide amounted to two thousand 808; while, as of February 28, 2021, incidents grew to 3 thousand 795, which means an increase of 987 more cases in just the first 59 days of this year. 

This reflects the fact that, despite the efforts made, even by the White House, to contain the hatred against the Asian community, they have simply not been enough, as acts are becoming more frequent and violent every day.

The year had just begun and the population of San Francisco and the country was outraged by the attack suffered by a 91-year-old man who was violently pushed to the ground in public, a situation that became known due to the enormous diffusion of a video that captured the moment. 

At that time, the co-founders of Stop AAPI HateManjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asia Pacific Planning and Policy Council, Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, and Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University, said they were outraged by the "disturbing" incidents that the community has suffered.

"These violent assaults have a devastating impact on our community, as they are part of an alarming rise in anti-Asian American hatred during the COVID-19 pandemic," they sentenced.

Such incidents, they detailed, are stark reminders that urgent action must be taken to protect the AAPI community from hate, discrimination and violence. 

"It is up to all of us - businesses, government and community partners - to come together and immediately support the victims and families affected by these incidents, and work together to create lasting solutions that empower our communities with resources, support and education," they stressed.

One by one, the cases have shown the hatred that exists against a community that has also been strongly affected by COVID-19.

Cynthia Choi said that one of the reasons the numbers of attacks are high across the state of California is because the state has large concentrations of Asian-American communities. 

He also told KQAD that the Asian-American community has reported that the actions taken by law enforcement agencies to prevent further incidents are insufficient, "we believe that the reporting of such incidents is insufficient in general".

Choi noted that there is often distrust among affected communities to report hate crimes in order to avoid problems.

"In general, it goes unreported because there is distrust of government, including law enforcement. And there is data showing that even when people report crimes or incidents that could potentially be racially motivated, their experiences have not been positive," he stressed.

The expert highlighted in the interview that most of the incidents with the community have been hate speech and harassment, problems that do not reach the level of a hate crime, but still have harmful long-term impacts on people.

"Just because it's not a crime doesn't mean it doesn't cause harm. We received reports from families who reported that their elderly parents were walking around the neighborhood as they traditionally did ... being harassed, accosted and, in some cases, assaulted," he finished.

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