Hundreds turned out in San Francisco on Friday (March 26) to protest a rise in attacks against Asian Americans, carrying signs reading “stop Asian hate” and “I am not a virus.”
One resident said the situation was so bad she would not allow her visiting, elderly parents to venture out on their own.
“They’re not going anywhere without us. It’s really scary,” said Debbie Kim.
Hate crimes against Asian Americans rose by 149% in 2020 in 16 major cities compared with 2019, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.
Rights advocates say the surge, against the background of a long history of discrimination, is largely the result of Asian-Americans being blamed for the coronavirus pandemic, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Former U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “China Virus” and “kung flu,” rhetoric that some said inflamed anti-Asian sentiment.
At another rally in San Francisco on Friday, protesters highlighted the death of Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old Filipino man who died last December following a confrontation with police.
His family claims officers used excessive force after they called for help to deal with Quinto’s mental health crisis, according to local media. They have since filed a wrongful death lawsuit, while police deny any wrongdoing, the reports said.
(Production: Vanessa Johnston)