OAKLAND, CA (NewsNation Now) – Multiple volunteer groups are now taking matters into their own hands and providing their own community patrols over Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood in response to recent attacks against the elderly and store owners.
A 71-year-old woman was robbed and pushed to the ground in Oakland on Sunday and just a week before, a 91-year-old man was walking in Chinatown when police say 28-year-old Yahya Muslim shoved him from behind and sent him crashing into the concrete.
There has been a steady rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans over the last few years according to recent data from the FBI.
James, who started a grassroots movement called Asians with Attitudes, has been highlighting attacks against the Asian community through social media.
“It’s video after video, people are getting tired. This person could be my grandmother. This person could be my grandfather walking down the street getting attacked,” James said to NewsNation affiliate KRON.
He says local representatives from the movement are now participating in neighborhood foot patrols to prevent recent attacks like this from happening again in Oakland.
While James lives on the other side of the country, he says he can’t sit back and watch this violence against the community. He plans to travel to Oakland this weekend.
“I feel disappointed. I feel angry and sometimes I feel sad because I feel helpless like they feel helpless. They can’t defend themselves,” James said.
In addition to Asians with Attitudes, a newly formed group called Compassion in Oakland is also answering the call for help.
A member of the group, Jacob Azevedo, says more than 160 people have volunteered in his effort to keep Oakland Chinatown residents safe.
“I would like people to walk them to and from their cars, have people wait with them when they’re waiting for a ride. For elderly people, if they want someone to just accompany them while they’re running errands,” Azevedo said.
President of Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, Carl Chan, says he’s encouraged by the community response.
“[It’s] important that we all work together in saving our business and helping our seniors in the community,” Chan said.
President Biden signed an executive order aimed at combatting violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities due to pandemic related xenophobia.