Photo by Khachik Simonian
By Sylvia Chi and Andrea Lum
As Lunar New Year begins, we wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge the disturbing and violent attacks against Asian Americans and especially the elderly. In particular, the murder of an elderly Thai grandfather and the video of a 91 year old man shoved to the ground in Oakland Chinatown brought this growing crisis to the forefront. Incidents against Asian Americans rose under COVID, which IEB drew attention to last year. We denounce the violence, condemn the attacks, and ask that we all focus on healing together to create a sense of collective safety, improving multi-racial, cross-cultural communication, and addressing systemic causes of inequality. Addressing the root causes of tensions among communities of color means recognizing the need for affordable housing, safe and stable living-wage jobs, access to culturally competent healthcare, and trauma-informed resources for survivors. Like Tuesday’s Chevron-caused oil spill in Richmond, these attacks show how decades of disinvestment and systemic racism have marginalized communities of color and sought to pit us against each other. Instead, we must come together to ensure our safety and empower ourselves.
There are several ways to show solidarity with the victims and support the community including raising awareness about these attacks, supporting the businesses in SF and Oakland Chinatown, and donating to the organizations that address community safety and multi-racial work. Above all, we must educate to eradicate ignorance and reject demonizing or scapegoating.
To get involved and stay informed on opportunities to assist, complete this form, organized by the Oakland Chinatown Coalition. A GoFundMe has also been started to support Bay Area organizations that work on community safety. In addition, marking the start of the Lunar New Year, a multi-racial and interfaith healing event will be held on Saturday, February 13 from 3-5 pm at Madison Park in Oakland and a sister event on Sunday February 14 in San Francisco, at 1:00 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza.. All who are committed to a long term process of cross-cultural community-building are invited to participate while heeding safe physical distancing practices.
團結就是力量 Unity is Power
Happy New Year to all.
Sylvia Chi is the Policy Director for Asian Pacific Environmental Network and lives in Oakland.
Andrea Lum works in higher education by day and as the Volunteer Coordinator for IEB by night.