SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — There was a huge rally in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown Saturday to show solidarity with the city’s Asian residents but, amid the calls for healing, there were signs of how deeply the community has been traumatized.
If the definition of terrorism is the use of violence to create fear among a larger population, then recent attacks on Asian people have certainly done that.READ MORE: UPDATE: Evacuation Orders Downgraded to Warnings as Crews Mop Up Estrada Fire Near Watsonville
“I am hurting. I’ve had nightmares, people breaking into my house holding a gun against me,” said one woman who spoke to hundreds of people gathered at Portsmouth Square in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
The rally was meant to commemorate the victims of anti-Asian violence, from here in the Bay Area to the horrific murder of eight people in Atlanta.
Xing Yu said that even though his parents have not been physically attacked, they are still victims as well.
“My parents, now, they just don’t want to go out because they fear walking on the streets they will be attacked by a random person,” Yu said.READ MORE: Pleasant Hill Police Ask Public for Help Finding Stabbing Suspect
The image of an Asian grandmother who had to defend herself with a stick against an attacker on Market Street in San Francisco has become a symbol of how vulnerable people feel right now, especially after it was discovered that the assailant may also have attacked an elderly Asian man at the same location.
“He didn’t go around, you know, attacking white people,” said San Francisco resident Will Lee. “He saw two Asians, an Asian man and an Asian woman, and he attacked them. That is a hate crime!”
“We’re here to say grandma should not have defend herself with a stick,” said rally organizer Shaw San Liu. “We, as a society, need to provide safety for all community members and it’s clear the current systems are not working.”
The rally was sponsored by the Chinese Progressive Alliance and, while some painted hearts on the sidewalks and wrote messages of love on kites, others were just plain angry and said it’s time to stop showing sympathy for those who victimize others on the streets of the city.
“Because the victims, a lot of them, they’re like in house arrest,” one man said. “They won’t come out of their house anymore and then you get the assailants, you know, they get a slap on the wrist and they’re out!”MORE NEWS: Alameda Police Seek Person of Interest in Friday Night Shooting
“We’re no longer asking, we’re demanding,” said another man to the crowd. “We’re going to speak up whether you like it or not! Our voices are going to be heard.”