'We are not targets': Hundreds rally in SF to condemn violence against Asian-American community

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Hundreds gathered Sunday in San Francisco to confront the ugliness of recent violent attacks against elders in the Asian American community across the Bay Area.

"We're here to say, we are not targets," said Lai Wa Wu from the Chinese Progressive Association to the large crowd at Civic Center.

RELATED: Surge in racism against Asian Americans spurs calls for change

"As a multi-racial community, we're not going to stand for it, condemn the violence," said activist Vida Kuang.

Many say the violence isn't new, but there are reasons it's escalating.

"We've also lived under a president who continued to blame COVID on Asians time and time again," said Wu.

The family of Vicha Ratanapakdee held tight to his picture.

The 84-year-old was killed in a violent attack near his home in January, a 19-year-old suspect arrested.

VIDEO: 84-year-old killed after horrific daytime attack caught on video in SF
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(WARNING: This video may be disturbing to some.) An 84-year old man is dead after a horrific daytime attack in San Francisco's Anza Vista neighborhood. Police say their suspect Antoine Watson, 19, attacked the senior along Anza Vista and Fortuna avenues Thursday morning.

"Everyone keeps blaming COVID, but these are attacks on innocent people based on race," said Son-in-law Eric Lawson.

A similar healing vigil was held in Oakland Saturday, where attacks have been widespread in the Chinatown area.

Oakland Police announced a new community resource officer to help bridge cultural and language barriers, but activists want city leaders to do more to address the deeper root causes of violence, long term.

"Dialogue and healing in the Asian and Black community that humanize all of us," said Sarah Wan from Community Youth Center.

RELATED: 'Condemning violence': Oakland Chinatown rally draws large crowd

Tinisch Hollins from Californians for Safety and Justice, said there is much work and healing to be done.

"We have to address the root problem - racism. How it shows up in community and how it makes us smother each other," Hollins said.

Reverend Norman Fong from Chinatown Presbyterian Church shared shared his wish for the future: peace and love.

"We are here hoping for that beloved community, at least in San Francisco, that we can do something to stop the hate," said Fong.
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