US: Asian-Americans In Country ‘patrolling Streets’ To Keep Elders Safe From Hate Crimes

As hate crimes against the Asian community in the United States have been on the rise amid the COVID-19 pandemic, American Asians have started patrolling the streets across the country in order to ensure the safety of their elders. As per a CNN report, in Oakland, about a dozen people wearing bright orange vests and caps daily comb the streets of Chinatown every day. Furthermore, reportedly they also carry whistles and some even wear body cameras while they greet business owners and customers alike.

One of the volunteers, David Won told the media publication that the group as a group, all just show their presence to ensure the individuals that might be out there “don’t try to commit any crimes.” Reportedly. Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number of people who used to shop at Oakland’s Chinatown reduced significantly and several businesses also closed down. According to Carl Chan, the president of the neighbourhood’s chamber of commerce, the businesses who were able to reopen have evidently shortened their operating hours ‘out of fear.’

Who created the foot patrol?

In February, this year, the East Bay Toishan Association, which a group of mostly seniors and organizes social events, and Tai Chi classes for people from Taishan in China’s southern Guangdong province, created the foot patrol as the bay Area witnessed a drastic surge in anti-Asian attacks. After seeing the patrol volunteers, many others joined the cause. The media publication stated that David Wobn, 59, saw the patrol group while grocery shopping in the neighbourhood. After reaching out to them, he soon began walking alongside them.

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Won joined the group because according to him, “being out there is the right thing to do.” He further expressed his disbelief on the violence embarked upon the Asians in the United States. Following Oakland’s Chinatown, similar community watch groups have been created in several cities across the nation including Seattle and New York. As per the report, at least four other groups in Oakland have patrolled the streets in the past year in a bid to keep elders safe. Meanwhile, reportedly, an emergency response team in San Jose that is known for giving out aid during natural disasters also created a patrol unit in the city’s Japantown.

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Stop AAPI Hate which is a centre of tracking reports of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans has reportedly received more than 6,000 firsthand complaints since last year. According to its report published on Mental Health of community members, “Asian Americans who have experienced racism are more stressed by anti-Asian hate than the pandemic itself” and “One in five Asian Americans who have experienced racism display racial trauma, the psychological and emotional harm caused by racism.”

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