Sacramento, CA – APAPA is extremely concerned about recent unprovoked attacks on elderly Asian Americans in San Francisco, Oakland, and the South Bay communities. Several of these attacks occurred in broad daylight and were captured in horrific details on videos. Some appear to be hate crimes while others are robbery attempts. In San Francisco, Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old from Thailand, died after he was abruptly attacked while out on a morning walk on January 28, 2021. A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and elder abuse in the case.
Sadly, many of the victims are elderly Asian Americans who are economically-disadvantaged. The majority of these attacks are racially-motivated through scapegoating and placing blame on China, and by extension Chinese Americans, for causing the present world-wide pandemic by lies and innuendos perpetuated by the highest office of our land.
At a news conference in Oakland’s Chinatown on February 10, Alameda County District Attorney, Nancy O’Malley, announced the creation of a special response unit focused on crimes against APIs, and particularly older API individuals. The new unit stems from two similar attacks in northern California last week as well as a spate of crime in Oakland’s Chinatown. We applaud the appointment of the new Oakland Chief of Police, LeRonne Armstrong, who made it clear that such crimes in Chinatown will not be tolerated and said that “there will be a new day in Chinatown.”
It is especially unfortunate, yet ironic that some of these attackers were members of other minorities who have suffered from prejudices and racial injustices themselves. It is a sad commentary that America may have descended into an abyss where primal instincts have taken over and where tribal-rules prevail and where preys are preying on fellow victims.
APAPA applauds the efforts of many leaders who have spoken up on this issue, and especially on the efforts of our Chapter Chairs Dennis Wu in San Francisco and Carl Chan in Oakland for corralling private and public support to immediately stop and reverse these downward-spiraling trends. They are both outreaching to Asian Americans and every other minority group in our community to form coalitions to fundamentally solve this intolerable situation.
Our Chairman, Dr. Ken Fong, is re-emphasizing that America is only strong when there are equality and justice for everyone. APAPA pledges to work with every group to make this the land where “all men are created equal,” and that we all join hands in working collectively to make the elusive “American Dream” come true for ALL.