S.F. ACTIVISTS PROTEST ‘WHITE SUPREMACY’ AFTER BLACK MAN ATTACKS ASIAN MAN

Activists in New York City joined residents of California’s Bay Area and marched against “white supremacy” over the weekend after a black man was arrested in connection with a high-profile attack on an elderly Thai immigrant, Vicha Ratanapakdee, that left the man dead.

The attack—which was captured in shocking detail by a nearby surveillance camera—was the latest in a string of violent attacks against Asian-Americans and Asian immigrants in and around San Francisco and prompted a national call to address racism against the Asian community.

According to local media, there have been around 20 blatant attacks in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood in the past several weeks. At least one similar attack happened in New York City.

In order to reel in national attention to the issue, activists in New York City organized a march on Saturday against “white supremacy.”

“Several hundred people from the Washington Square Park ‘Unite Against White Nationalism’ rally are now marching through Chelsea. This protest is in response to anti-Asian/AAPI violence happening in New York and across the country,” an activist account associated with the movement tweeted on Saturday.

It was the second such march in a week. The first took place in Oakland, California, which also drew dozens of supporters, many of them carrying signs demanding that racism to be stamped out, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

It was around the same time that at an Oakland rally, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who represents the Bay Area, and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) also denounced the “white supremacy” that ostensibly led to these attacks—and even called out former President Donald Trump specifically for his decision to use the term “China virus” to refer to COVID-19, according to The Hill.

“As we celebrate the Lunar New Year, a source of joy, it’s also a source of pain for us at this time because of all of these incidents,” Pelosi said at a press conference.

“We warned that spreading xenophobia would put lives at risk. But our pleas and the guidance from experts were ignored,” Chu added. “Donald Trump and Republicans doubled down on using slurs like ‘Wuhan virus,’ ‘China plague’ and ‘Kung flu.’ And that tactic succeeded in promoting the stigma that directed people’s anger at Asian Americans. What started as dirty looks and verbal assaults has escalated to physical attacks and violence against innocent Asian Americans.”

It is not clear, however, whether there is a tie between “white supremacy” and the growing number of attacks in largely Asian communities. Accoding to the San Francisco Examiner, the man apprehended in connection with the high-profile Bay Area attack is a black teenager—and officials have not said that the attack was motivated by race.

“Antoine Watson, a 19-year-old resident of Daly City, made his first court appearance at the Hall of Justice after being taken into custody Saturday in what police have described as an ‘unprovoked’ attack on Vicha Ratanapakdee,” the outlet reported last week. “Authorities say Watson rushed across a street and pushed Ratanapakdee to the ground near Anzavista and Fortuna avenues last Thursday at around 8:28 a.m, causing him to hit his head on the pavement and slide into a garage door. Ratanapakdee died Saturday as a result of his injuries after being taken to a hospital.”

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