Saturday marked two years since 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was shoved to the ground while out on a walk in San Francisco near his home. He died two days later of his injuries.
On the two-year anniversary of this attack, dozens of people joined together in San Francisco to remember Ratanapakdee and others who've been killed or injured by anti-Asian violence. This group began Saturday's gathering at the mural of Ratanapakdee on California Street and Grant Avenue.
On Jan. 28, 2021, Ratanapakdee was out on a walk in San Francisco's Anza Vista neighborhood when he was pushed and knocked to the ground. His family said he never regained consciousness and died from a brain hemorrhage on Jan. 30, 2021.
Ratanapakdee, who is also known as "Grandpa Vicha," immigrated to the U.S. from Thailand and enjoyed going on his daily walks and taking care of his grandchildren, his family said.
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His daughter, Monthanus Ratanapakdee spoke at the gathering Saturday.
"As you have seen in the news every day now, violence against Asians has not stopped," Monthanus Ratanapakdee said to the crowd.
Vicha Ratanapakdee's death catalyzed the Stop Asian Hate movement in the Bay Area. But his family says more has to be done to stop the hate, promote love, and to make our communities safe for everyone.
Across the country, incidents of violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans continue to rise.
"I feel so much pain for my father and the community whenever I see the news of more victims of the violence," Monthanus Ratanapakdee said Saturday.
The group walked from the Grandpa Vicha mural to Portsmouth Square in San Francisco's Chinatown, where several people spoke to the crowd about their first-hand experiences with anti-Asian violence.
"When trauma happens, we tend to be numb, who here feels numb from all of this?" Sasanna Yee asked the crowd, to which many in the crowd raised their hands.
Yee encouraged the group to participate in activities that help them process this trauma, noting this can be especially important to elders who don't have access to mental health support.
"These activities are very important to feel community," she said.
While the speakers at Saturday's event grappled with their own trauma, many are also celebrating the Lunar New Year.
"It’s hard for us to mourn and celebrate the new year at the same time," Monthanus Ratanapakdee acknowledged.
But that's exactly what Ratanapakdee's family and the community gathered around them are trying to do: hold the mourning and the celebrating side-by-side.
They closed out the event by writing down hopes for a better future on slips of paper, and sending those wishes off in a lotus lantern.
“We hope in the new year for everyone, with our future, for everyone to stay safe and stay strong-- healing together," Monthanus Ratanapakdee said.