After several attacks on members of the Asian-American community in the Bay Area, a rally was held in Oakland to promote multicultural healing Saturday.
The rally was part of an effort to push back on what leaders in the Black community say is an unfair stereotype which has gained some national attention – the idea that some in the city’s Black community are targeting their Asian neighbors in violent attacks.
A diverse crowd of at least 500 people gathered at Madison Park where speakers talked about solidarity among different communities after recent violence and robberies targeted the Asian community, often with elderly victims.
“We’re not going to allow any narratives that disrupt the relationship that the Black and Asian community has,” said East Bay Associate Justice Minister Shari Murphy.
Several community groups and the Oakland Chinatown coalition were present as the group discussed cross-cultural unity and education, ways to keep the community safe, culturally competent services and making investments to address underlying causes of violence that impact many groups.
Leaders from Black churches, mosques and community groups showed that Black and Asian communities are united against violence.
They also emphasized the importance of keeping a community perspective on public safety.
“This is a time to come to unity in this moment, because we do need to work together to address what needs to be the long term, community-centered solutions,” said Julia Liou of the Oakland Chinatown Coalition.
“What’s needed is folks coming together, as you see happening here, to say that we stand with you,” said Zach Norris, the executive director of Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
Amy Ratanapakdee’s 84-year-old father died two weeks ago after he was thrown to the ground by a teen in San Francisco’s Anza Vista neighborhood.
The 19-year-old Black suspect is now charged with murder.
Ratanapakdee’s husband, Eric Lawson, said leaders within the different communities need to hold people accountable by making this type of violence shameful.
“When violent actions are happening over and over again, something needs to happen that’s different,” Lawson said.
Mayor Libby Schaff posted on social media that she and Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong would restore police liaisons to the two largest non-English speaking communities in Oakland – Chinatown and Fruitvale.
The mayor’s office said Schaff would push for grants for additional cameras in Chinatown.
The Alameda district attorney reported 18 crimes against Asian-Americans around Oakland’s Chinatown in just the past two weeks.