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How San Francisco’s Chinatown fought back against anti-Asian hate – BC


San Francisco’s Chinatown may seem safe on the surface, but like Vancouver, the northern California city has seen an explosion of anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But just south of the border, grassroots groups have been battling a series of cowardly attacks that force seniors to stay home – and their efforts have empowered Asian Americans to stand up for their communities. their copper.


Click to play video: 'VPD and BC business leaders tour San Francisco Chinatown'







VPD and BC business leaders visit San Francisco’s Chinatown


VPD and BC business leaders visit San Francisco’s Chinatown

During the day, Ebert Kan deals in auto parts.

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After work two days a week, he turns to guard San Francisco’s Chinatown as president of United Peace Cooperation (UPC).

Kan told Global News: “Chinatown for me has a special place in my heart.

“I grew up here and a lot of my friends and family grew up here.”

Kan was moved into action after an elderly man was violently pushed to the ground during a daylight attack in January 2021.

An 85-year-old Thai man, Vicha Ratanapakdee, died from his injuries.

84-year-old Thai man Vicha Ratanapakdee died of his injuries after being pushed to the ground in San Francisco in January 2021.

Global News

“That’s what upsets me,” Kan said.

San Francisco police statistics show that the number of hate crimes reported against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the pandemic spiked 567 percent – from nine victims in 2020 to 60 in 2016. 2021.

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UPC was founded in March 2020 by Leanna Louie, who, along with partner Robert Lowe, began conducting safety patrols in San Francisco’s Chinatown in response to a rise in hate crime. anti-AAPI.

More than two years later, UPC volunteers continue to patrol the area seven days a week to ensure the safety of the elderly, women and children.

“In the five and seven months that I have been doing this, all the attacks have stopped in Chinatown,” says Kan.

“They didn’t stop completely but they did stop in Chinatown in general.”

UPC’s mission to take back the streets also extends to keeping Chinatown clean of graffiti with volunteers removing tags from rolling doors and roofs.

Read more:

Minimal murals and graffiti: VPD and business leaders tour San Francisco’s Chinatown

“Chinatown won’t exist unless we can make sure it’s a safe place,” said Lily Ho.

Lake formed Delta Chinatown Initiative to help combat the rise in hate crimes, prevent crime, and assist police in holding criminals accountable.

The nonprofit has organized rallies and town halls against anti-Asian hatred, and secured funding to install surveillance cameras in alleys and along Grant Avenue, with few objections from security groups.

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“This is our community,” Ho told Global News.

“I mean it’s not something where I’m comfortable not doing something.”

Small businesses were already struggling economically when COVID-19 hit, leading to storefront closures and an increase in crime, vandalism, and violent attacks.

Kevin Chan, owner of Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, said: “As Chinese here, we take the blame because people think the virus came from China.

“It was really annoying going to Chinatown during that time when everything was locked down,” said Lieut. Douglas Farmer of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) said.

Farmer was acting captain of the Central Police Department, which covers Chinatown, where he was a lieutenant of the daytime clock at the height of the pandemic.

“It was a tough time, but we knew at Central Station that Chinatown was tough,” says Farmer.

Read more:

Vancouver delegation visits San Francisco’s Chinatown to find out how it was revived

SFPD has added a dedicated foot patrol feature to each watch to help businesses fight back.

“The secret: fight, every time as if we were trying to fight for our lives,” says Edward Siu of the Chinatown Merchants Association.

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Siu, who also runs the travel agency Classics Tour, said merchants have started a WeChat group to share photos of suspects and help prevent crime.

“They see something really suspicious or some crime is happening, or will happen, and then we will chat about it and then we will send it to the police,” Siu said.

“Officers really take it to heart and deal with it on their own when they see something bad happen,” Farmer said.

“I feel like the entire community feels very protective of this space,” Ho added.

But even with a police presence and a community invested in the change, Ho said the anti-Asian hatred has not gone away.

“Unfortunately, it’s still a problem,” he said.

Neither Ho nor Kan gave up the fight.

“Someone asked me how long I plan to do this and I [said] Kan said.

“In fact, I will probably do this for the rest of my life.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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