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Assaults on Asian Americans spike amid coronavirus pandemic

Jamie Yuccas
·2 min read
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There is a troubling rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans. Attacks started in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic as former President Trump used the term "China virus" to refer to COVID.

Kelly Shum, the owner at a butcher shop in Sacramento said she is frightened after security cameras captured a man tossing a dead cat in her parking lot — an incident she called a hate crime.

More than 3,000 hate incidents directed at Asian Americans nationwide have been recorded since the start of the pandemic, according to advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate.

Other examples of assaults include a 91-year old Asian man in Oakland thrown to the ground. In New York City, a man poured acid on an Asian American woman.

And there was a violent attack in San Francisco on 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee, a Thai American, who later died from his injuries.

A man holds a portrait of Vicha Ratanapakdee in San Francisco. / Credit: Damian Dovarganes / AP
A man holds a portrait of Vicha Ratanapakdee in San Francisco. / Credit: Damian Dovarganes / AP

Some blame the rise of anti-Asian American discrimination on the former president's rhetoric in his description of the pandemic.

Tam Nguyen, who said witnessing this type of violence is upsetting, is part of Nailing it For America, a community organization that's working to raise awareness about anti-Asian hate crimes.

"Whether it's speaking up, whether it's sharing, or whether it's lending a hand and reaching out to your Asian American friends," he said.

The victims also include Air Force vet Denny Kim who was assaulted last week in Los Angeles.

"It's just absolutely senseless and it really breaks my heart," he said.

This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that will devote nearly $1.5 million to tracking anti-Asian hate crimes. Lawmakers hope the information gathered will ultimately lead to solutions that will make communities safer.

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