For Immediate Release: February 25, 2020
Joyce Lam, Chinese Progressive Association (Chinese)
Lai Wa Wu, Chinese Progressive Association (English)
Katherine Saviskas, Coleman Advocates (English)
Black and Chinese Community Organizations Unite
After Violent Assault on Elderly Man in Bayview
A Public Statement from
Chinese Progressive Association and Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth
Over this past weekend, we received news on social media that an elderly Chinese man was assaulted and robbed of his recycling in the Bayview on Osceola Lane. Like many of you in our community, we feel deep sorrow, hurt, and anger over this incident. Nobody deserves to be treated in this manner, and in a time when so many of us are struggling, we are heartbroken to see such attacks against someone trying to make ends meet by collecting cans to recycle. We are deeply concerned with the divisive hate language, racist and discriminatory comments, and calls for retribution that we are seeing on social media. We can and must acknowledge the racially-charged, discriminatory and dehumanizing nature of the attack as well as the racial tensions feeding into this incident without resorting to similar language and tactics. And, we are reminded that we must increase our efforts to build bridges and shared understandings of the violence our communities are experiencing, so that we can end this violence together. While community members and agencies are still working to identify the elderly man, we are sending our thoughts and prayers to him and his family.
As community members press the City to take swift action to support the elderly man and create accountability for the harm that has been done, CPA and Coleman also call on the Mayor and city agencies to expand their efforts to offer services and resources for victims and survivors by providing: community-driven, culturally responsive, and in-language victims’ services, as well as significant, transparent reinvestment in violence prevention, intervention programs, and restorative justice programs.
Our organizations and Chinese, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities in San Francisco have a history of working together to create cross-cultural understanding, win improvements for our communities, and to confront racism within our communities. We do not tolerate any type of violence toward our community members, especially toward the elderly and our most vulnerable. We do not tolerate racism, colorism, or other forms of oppression in our communities. We find it troubling that our communities are here again and that elders continue to experience a pattern of attacks. As the wealth gap continues to grow in San Francisco and as racism persists and worsens, many of us face instability in our daily lives at our jobs, in our homes, and in our communities. In these times, we cannot afford to turn against one another or to allow old patterns of racism and violence across communities to persist.
Crimes like this one don’t exclusively harm the victim, they also harm the people in the community where the crime happened. We must not allow discriminatory anti-Asian sentiments and acts of violence further divide our community, pit us against each other, or dehumanize each other. Nor should we allow this incident to justify anti-Blackness or further violence against our Black community members. We understand violence is a symptom of systemic problems our communities face, and we also believe the safety of all our community members must be a priority. It’s the responsibility of the City to work with neighbors and the people harmed to restore and transform the community toward justice.
We must fight together for the neighborhoods we all need. If we work together, we can build neighborhoods where we can walk around the streets without fear, where we trust our neighbors even when we don’t look the same or speak the same language, neighborhoods where we have organizations offering all our community members support. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we continue to share and listen to each other’s stories and histories, the humanity, struggles, and triumphs of our communities.
CPA and Coleman Advocates call for justice for the victims — we must support them and put their needs first. CPA and Coleman intend to more deeply and directly engage our Chinese, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous community in conversation with each other about race, violence, safety, and justice. We call on our communities to deepen our relationships and connections with each other and build new collaborations to continue the work of building genuine community safety, something that will not be given to us by the city, something we must together create. We stand united in demanding accountability and systems change that will contribute to healing and preventing violence in our community. We will continue to work together to build and defend the safety and well-being of all people.