A whole bunch of persons are volunteering to escort aged Bay Space Asian Individuals to assist hold them protected – East Bay Occasions
By Kelsie Smith | CNN
Jacob Azevedo’s stomach turned when he saw a disturbing video of an 84-year-old Thai American who was fatally knocked to the ground on a sidewalk in San Francisco.
It was the second video of an unprovoked attack on an elderly Asian American that Azevedo, a resident of Oakland, saw on social media outside of the Bay Area within an hour, he told CNN.
Since the world learned of the new coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, harassment and violence against the Asian-American and Pacific islander communities in the United States have increased rapidly.
More than 2,808 first-hand reports of anti-Asian hatred from 47 states and the District of Columbia were reported between March 19 and December 31, 2020, with 7.3% of those incidents involving Asian Americans over the age of 60, according to a report by Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition documenting anti-Asian hatred and discrimination amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recent spike in attacks on elderly Asian Americans in the Bay Area has heightened concern among activists and community leaders.
Exhausted from the violence, Azevedo offered on social media to take someone out for a walk in Oakland’s Chinatown to feel safe.
“I didn’t plan to be some kind of vigilante,” Azevedo, 26, told CNN. “I just wanted to give people some kind of comfort.”
His idea quickly resonated across the community and within a few days nearly 300 volunteers had contacted him to protect the community in a project called Compassion in Oakland.
Azevedo, who is of Hispanic descent, believes this is a moment for all minority groups to show solidarity with the Asian-American community. He said people of all races and ages reached out to him and shared an equal desire to support the community.
“It’s important because this community just needs healing,” said Azevedo. “There is a lot of racial tension due to the previous president’s rhetoric, but in general our communities need healing. This is a topic that has been going on for a while. “
Cynthia Choi, co-founder of APPI Hate, told CNN that crime and violence are nothing new to the Asian community.
“This is an issue that doesn’t get much attention, especially in low-income communities,” Choi said. “And of course, I think the pandemic has tightened conditions and exposed racial differences.”
Choi said in times of crisis when people at risk are being attacked, it is heartwarming to see community members come out and take action.
“In Oakland they are planning this action and it’s less about control and more about supporting the community and showing up,” she said. “It shows our elders, who are afraid, afraid to leave their house, that we are here. We want to support you, we are holding you right now.”
Azevedo hopes the organization can work with law enforcement in the future to keep the community safe.
“We all need to come together if we hope this will be a safer community in the years to come,” said Azevedo.
The group planned a soft start to the project on Saturday with some volunteer groups on the streets. They hope to further raise awareness of the problem in the community.
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