Community groups denounce violence toward Asian Americans in Bay Area and beyond

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- When a large, black hearse rolled into Colma's Woodlawn Funeral Home, it marked the end of a long, dignified life taken in the midst of an agonizing racial crisis.

"I want to talk about what the problem really is. To tell the truth," said Eric Lawson, the son-in-law of 84-year-old Vichan Ratanapakdee, who died after being attacked in Francisco's Anza Vista neighborhood.

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Today, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin filed murder charges in yet another high-profile violent crime against Asians.

"The community should be able to feel safe walking down the street," said Lawson.

That has not been possible, recently.

Today, eight different Asian community groups denounced hundreds of attacks locally and thousands nationally in the last year, and before that, even.

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"Crime and violence has been happening in our communities for years and years," said Alvina Wong of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.

She lays at least some of the blame on President Trump and his reference to COVID-19 as the "China virus."

"He was inciting more violence and attacks on our community based on how it was Asian," she said.

Now, the Bay Area's Asian community is asking for a symbolic reset and urgent action for protection. Asians, they say, make easier targets due to language barriers and a reluctance to report crimes.

"I mean it is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking and sad and it makes me angry," said Wong.

Or, for those attending the funeral, this morning, just plain lost and sad.
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