To help deter further attacks against the Asian community, hundreds of volunteers have signed up to accompany older Asian Americans walking around Oakland’s Chinatown. Of the more than 2,800 anti-Asian attacks reported nationally between March 19 and Dec. 31 last year, 7.3% involved victims aged 60 and above, according to Stop AAPI Hate. A new surge in attacks -- particularly in California’s Bay Area -- has been reported in the past few weeks. One of the recent attacks involved an 84-year-old Thai American man who was shoved to his death, an incident that his loved ones are calling an act of racism.
Jacob Azevedo, 26, grew fed up with the violence. In a social media post, he offered to walk with anyone around Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood to help them feel safer. “I wasn’t intending to be some kind of vigilante. I just wanted to offer people some kind of comfort,” Azevedo told CNN. Azevedo is Hispanic, but he believes that all minority groups need to stand with Asian Americans. His offer went viral, and soon enough, around 300 people volunteered to join him in an organization now known as Compassion in Oakland. There are multiple ways to help. Aside from chaperoning older people, volunteers can engage in administrative support, supply management and community outreach.
Compassion in Oakland has already gained more than 2,100 followers on Instagram. On Sunday, the young organization announced that its first group of volunteers had set out for the streets. “It felt good to be in the community and working together. Can’t wait to do it again,” the group said. On the same day, hundreds also gathered in San Francisco to protest the recent attacks. “As a multi-racial community, we're not going to stand for it, condemn the violence," said activist Vida Kuang, according to ABC7 News. Anyone interested in volunteering for Compassion in Oakland may sign up here. COVID-19 test results are mandatory for those who want to help out in person. Feature Images via Compassion in Oakland
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