Bayview holds vigil for Asian attacks on Muni

April 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Three recent attacks on Muni occurred against Asians, one of them was fatal, and that brought people into the streets of the Bayview District on Thursday night. It was a vigil to honor the victims and also to open lines of communication.

Residents called for an end to the violence and the racial tension here. The vigil remembered 83-year-old Huan Chen who was beaten by five teenagers and later died.

Last month, five boys attacked a 57-year-old woman and the attack was caught on surveillance video.

Still, in another incident a 29-year-old man was beaten by five boys. The victims were Asian and the attackers were African-American.

"Because the Bayview is such a melting pot, we're hitting all kinds of nationalities and unfortunately, we had three of note that were all Asian," said San Francisco Capt. Greg Suhr.

Police say there is no evidence that the attacks were racially motivated. The vigil was about stopping violence and starting healing.

"Hopefully, this event today will help bridge two cultures or bridge not just two cultures but everybody, all of the cultures together and maybe all of us can see each other, get a chance to see if we can build this neighborhood," said organizer Edward Hom.

"We need to come together as a community, not just as a group of people, but as a community," said Bayview resident Maxine P. Jones.

Jones' friend was a neighbor of Huan Chen.

"He was always very friendly. He got up in the morning at 7 o'clock, he said 'Good morning,' and a big smile," said Bayview resident Ann Horvath.

This vigil was about understanding and reaching out.

"We're definitely color blind and that does not come into play, and we're not sure that is the issue here," said vigil participant Cici Vu.

They believe it's a bigger issue.

"Two communities being very, very stressed, honestly to the breaking point, lack of resources, lack of... or poor education, lack of cultural sensitivity," said vigil participant Malia Cohen.

Obviously the vigil can't change the violence that happened, but maybe this is a start, a new beginning in relationships in the Bayview.

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