SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s new PSA video opens with a Chinese American prosecutor saying, “This is not a Chinese virus.”
The 55-second video comes with a strong warning for people targeting and blaming the coronavirus outbreak on a particular group: they will face criminal consequences.
“If you hurt or threaten someone because of those things, you’ll have a lot more to worry about than COVID-19,” said District Attorney Jeff Rosen.
The powerful PSA comes at a time when an alarming number of Asians and Asian Americans across the country are being yelled at, spit on and attacked. It prompted the launch of the STOP AAPI HATE reporting center.
In a little over a week, it received more than 1,000 self-reported cases of coronavirus-related discrimination, according to Russell Jeung, PhD, Chair and Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.
The data is gathered by community partners Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action. The reporting center was established with the school’s department of Asian American Studies.
Coronavirus-related racism is on the rise around the world. In the United Kingdom, a student from Singapore who is studying in London told the BBC he was walking down the street when four people attacked him. Several videos on social media appear to show people violently confronting Asian Americans across the country, from New York City to the Bay Area.
“There’s just a lot of attacks against Asians, even prior to the coronavirus, and it’s something a lot of us, we’re raised around here, we left, and we just can’t sit back and watch this any longer,” said Sammy with the SF Peace Collection. He chose to withhold his last name.
He found the SF Peace Collective, a group of volunteers made of up civilians and US veterans patrolling the streets of Chinatown.
“To promote awareness, to help lift Asians, to restore Asian pride, to let people know we’re not to be walked on,” he added.
The desire to create the official group came before the pandemic, but the heightened media attention motivated them to get moving in greater numbers. SF Peace Collective hopes their group will empower other communities.
“We’re just regular people and I think that’s the message–anyone can do this, in any Chinatown USA,” said Sammy.