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Hundreds Offer to Walk With Older Asian Americans

Bay Area effort was launched after recent, unprovoked attacks
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2021 5:30 PM CST

(Newser) – When an Oakland man saw two attacks on older Asian Americans in the area in less than an hour, he decided to do something. He posted an offer to walk with anyone in Oakland's Chinatown who didn't feel safe. In days, 300 people had signed up to help with the effort, called Compassion in Oakland, CNN reports. "I wasn't intending to be some kind of vigilante," Azevedo, 26, said. "I just wanted to offer people some kind of comfort." Harassment of Asian Americans has increased since the new coronavirus outbreak was reported to have originated in Wuhan, China. The attacks Azevedo saw online were both on older Asian Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area. Azevedo, who's of Hispanic heritage, says minority groups especially should stand up for Asian Americans now, though his volunteers are from all racial backgrounds.

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One report said there were more than 2,808 accounts of anti-Asian hate in 47 states and DC from last March through the end of the year. Of those, 7.3% of the victims were over 60. At an Oakland press conference, an official of a housing nonprofit that helps Asian Americans suggested starting more ambassador programs, per KQED. "It's difficult to shove a senior citizen to the ground if you see yourself in them, if you have a relationship to them," he said. "It's difficult to racially profile someone if you're not afraid of them—if you’ve played together in our parks and recreation centers." Black and Asian American leaders urged their communities to work together against white supremacy. "I've seen the pitting of communities against each other," a Chinese American leader said. "But I have also seen the strength and the hope that have been summoned through the difficult conversations we've held." (An arrest was made in one of the attacks.)

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