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    Addressing Anti-Asian Hate During COVID-19

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting–

    I can’t stomach it anymore. Nearly every day, I see video of innocent Asian Americans being violently slammed to the ground. Or, I cringe at pictures of bruised and swollen faces from a beating. Making it even more sickening, a rash of assaults in the Bay Area have involved elderly victims.

    When will it stop? Since the start of the pandemic, hate incidents against Asian Americans have dramatically spiked, as people wrongly blame them for COVID-19 and the hardships that came with it. In all instances, the racist attacks were unprovoked.

    As a result of this alarming trend, the StopAAPIHate tracking website ( https://stopaapihate.org/ ) launched a year ago, serving as a portal for victims to self-report their experiences. It has logged nearly 4,000 incidents across the country. About half of those occurred in California, ranging from verbal harassment, discrimination, to physical assaults—sometimes with deadly consequences, as illustrated in the case of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee, who died from head injuries earlier this year in my district after being forcefully pushed for no reason.

    We’ve seen this hate before—through the Chinese Exclusion Act, the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the murder of Vincent Chin—the list goes on and on. Black, Muslim, LGBTQ, and other marginalized communities have also been and continue to be targeted today. We need to keep standing up against bigotry, making sure love and acceptance win at the end of day.

    As a state legislator, I’m also doing my part to make a difference. In response to ongoing and escalating attacks against Asian Americans, I’m proud to have recently secured $1.4 million from the state budget to help confront the problem. The funding supports community outreach and data-gathering efforts, including those of the Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate collaborative, comprised by the Asian American Studies Departments at San Francisco State and UCLA, Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON).

    Together, they run the Stop AAPI Hate website, previously mentioned. In order to stop the problem, we have to know how big it is, and documenting as much as we can through the collaborative is crucial to helping us address the rise in violence.

    California also has a program that supports crime victims as they recover from their trauma. The Victims Compensation Board can help provide reimbursements for medical/dental treatment, therapy, income loss, and other costs resulting from victims’ injuries. These services are administered through the local district attorney, and victims can inquire about resources through their county’s office.

    As much as I’m disheartened by this dark chapter in our Asian-American history, I am also encouraged by the emerging reactions. Communities have come together to take a stand against hate. Groups have even formed to support the victims and help other residents feel safe. I thank all of you who have joined the Stop Asian Hate rallies, intervened when someone is victimized, escorted fearful seniors, or carried out other acts of kindness.

    These are the types of efforts that will stamp out hate and make our communities stronger. Racism is not a problem that can be easily fixed with increased police presence or harsher prison sentences. We must work together to conquer COVID-19 and promote greater acceptance and understanding, not point fingers.

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma, and Daly City.

    Published on April 22, 2021