News & Updates

  • Veteran S.F. commissioner latest victim of attacks against Asian Americans

    Posted by · August 08, 2022 4:22 PM

    MSN - A veteran San Francisco commissioner was assaulted while walking home in San Francisco’s South of Market district, the latest in a spate of violent attacks against Asian Americans.

    Gregory Chew, a former member of the city’s arts, film and immigrant rights commissions, said he was walking down Third Street at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when an assailant rolled up on a bicycle and suddenly began punching him.

    “I didn’t even know what happened,” Chew told The Chronicle on Saturday as he sat at home recuperating from injuries, including a badly swollen eye and a broken left shoulder. He remembered blacking out on the sidewalk as the attacker took off.

    When Chew regained consciousness, he remembered seeing two women emerge from a pingpong club, trying to help. A bystander evidently called police, and within minutes, he said, an ambulance arrived to take him to California Pacific Medical Center on Van Ness Avenue.

    The man who attacked Chew did not say anything during the encounter, and his motivations were not clear. Chew said he felt his pockets minutes after the assailant left, and realized his wallet and cell phone were still there.

    “There was no robbery,” he said.

    Representatives of San Francisco Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment Saturday. As of Saturday evening the department had not released information on the alleged assault, nor have police identified a person of interest or announced an arrest.

    Supervisor Matt Dorsey, whose district includes SoMa, described the assault in a tweet as “senseless violence” directed at a longtime public servant.

    “We’ve talked and he is doing okay — he’s got many fans who are wishing him well — but there should be no place for these kinds of attacks in San Francisco,” Dorsey wrote, referring to Chew.

    Both the supervisor and retired commissioner fear the attack fits a pattern of unprovoked violence against Asian Americans — particularly older adults like Chew, who is in his 70s — that ramped up during the pandemic. On Sunday, Asian American community leaders and their allies rallied in Washington Square Park, urging the city to clamp down on what appear to be targeted crimes.

    From March 19, 2020, to March 31, 2022, people nationwide reported 11,467 episodes of aggression and hate towards Asian Americans, one-sixth of which involved physical violence, according to data collected by the organization Stop AAPI Hate.

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  • While causing significant fear and trauma, the majority of hate incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate are not hate crimes and would not be investigated or prosecuted as such.

    Posted by · August 01, 2022 10:16 AM


    In February and March 2020, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI)
    communities around the country experienced a surge in harassment,
    bullying, and other acts of hate. News media cited an increasing number
    of horrific attacks targeting AAPI community members. A large number
    of these incidents employed anti-China rhetoric that blamed AAPI
    communities for the emerging COVID-19 pandemic.

    In response, Chinese for Affirmative Action, AAPI Equity Alliance (formerly the Asian Pacific Policy &
    Planning Council), and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department launched
    the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center on March 19, 2020. In the first week, we received over 600 reports
    from across the country. Within one month, we received almost 1,500 reports.

    Sadly, two years later, AAPI community members across the country continue to experience hate at
    alarming levels. Everyday, we receive stories of anti-AAPI slurs, shunning, physical violence, or other
    forms of discrimination. The patterns are consistent: these terrible incidents occur as people attempt
    to go about their daily lives — buying groceries, riding public transit, or walking their children to school.
    Community members share the fear and trauma that they experience as a result of these incidents.

    Collectively, the voices of individuals who have reported almost 11,500 incidents to us over the past two
    years have become a powerful tool. Not only have their stories garnered national attention on anti-AAPI
    hate, the details that they have provided have facilitated a more nuanced understanding of what anti-
    AAPI hate looks like. We now know that the majority of hate incidents, though harmful and traumatic, do
    not meet the legal definition of a crime, and therefore require solutions beyond law enforcement.

    This report shares what we have learned over the past two years and what it takes to address the
    systemic root causes of anti-AAPI hate. Every individual traumatic incident reported to Stop AAPI Hate
    reminds us of the urgent need to address systemic racism; our collective voice advocating for solutions
    is how we will do it.

    Read the Report at Stop AAPI Hate

  • This movement uses Christian language to cloak sexism and hostility to Black people and non-White immigrants in its quest to create a White Christian America.

    Posted by · July 26, 2022 9:59 AM

    An ‘imposter Christianity’ is threatening American democracy

    CNN - Three men, eyes closed and heads bowed, pray before a rough-hewn wooden cross. Another man wraps his arms around a massive Bible pressed against his chest like a shield. All throughout the crowd, people wave “Jesus Saves” banners and pump their fists toward the sky.

    At first glance, these snapshots look like scenes from an outdoor church rally. But this event wasn’t a revival; it was what some call a Christian revolt. These were photos of people who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, during an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

    The insurrection marked the first time many Americans realized the US is facing a burgeoning White Christian nationalist movement. This movement uses Christian language to cloak sexism and hostility to Black people and non-White immigrants in its quest to create a White Christian America.

    A report from a team of clergy, scholars and advocates — sponsored by two groups that advocate for the separation of church and state — concluded that this ideology was used to “bolster, justify and intensify” the attack on the US Capitol.

    Much of the House January 6 committee’s focus so far has been on right-wing extremist groups. But there are plenty of other Americans who have adopted teachings of the White Christian nationalists who stormed the Capitol — often without knowing it, scholars, historians, sociologists and clergy say.

    White Christian nationalist beliefs have infiltrated the religious mainstream so thoroughly that virtually any conservative Christian pastor who tries to challenge its ideology risks their career, says Kristin Kobes Du Mez, author of the New York Times bestseller, “Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.”

    “These ideas are so widespread that any individual pastor or Christian leader who tries to turn the tide and say, ‘Let’s look again at Jesus and scripture,’ are going to be tossed aside,” she says.

    The ideas are also insidious because many sound like expressions of Christian piety or harmless references to US history. But White Christian nationalists interpret these ideas in ways that are potentially violent and heretical. Their movement is not only anti-democratic, it contradicts the life and teachings of Jesus, some clergy, scholars and historians say.

    Samuel Perry, a professor of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma who is authority on the ideology, calls it an “imposter Christianity.”

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  • New California Crime Data

    Posted by · July 18, 2022 12:59 PM

    KQED - Calling it an "epidemic of hate," Attorney General Rob Bonta on Tuesday released the 2021 Hate Crime in California report, showing hate crimes spiking by 33% last year.

    "In fact, a level we haven't seen in California since the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11," said Bonta at a press conference in Sacramento.

    The total number of bias-based events in California was 1,763 in 2021, with crimes targeting Black people being most prevalent, increasing 12.5% from 456 in 2020 to 513 in 2021.

    Anti-Asian hate crimes rose a staggering 177% after a 107% increase the year before, "and these statistics hit very close to home for me personally," said Bonta, the first Filipino American to be California's attorney general.

    Reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation spiked 48%, while anti-Latino bias events rose nearly 30% in 2021. Among hate crime events based on religion, anti-Jewish bias increased 32%.

    Although the number of cases filed for prosecution by local prosecutors increased by 30%, Bonta noted that hate crimes are often underreported, and his office cautioned against comparing data among California counties due to differences in reporting and charging decisions.

    "Each of these incidents represents an attack on a person, a neighbor, a family member, a fellow Californian," said Bonta. "And worse, we know our statistics likely are not exhaustive" since some victims decline to come forward.

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  • Anti-Black, gay, Asian bias fuel California hate crime surge

    Posted by · July 11, 2022 9:35 AM

    NBCNews - Hate crimes driven by homophobia and racism resulted in a 33% surge in reported incidents in California last year, following a similar spike in hate-driven attacks the year prior and confirming what officials have been hearing anecdotally since the pandemic began, the state’s attorney general said Tuesday.

    Attorney General Rob Bonta said that crimes against Black people were again the most prevalent in 2021, climbing 13% from 2020 to 513 reported incidents. Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bias increased nearly 50% to 303 incidents while crimes against Asian Americans were up 178% to 247 incidents.

    “One hard truth in our state, just as we see across the nation, is that the epidemic of hate we saw spurred on during the pandemic remains a clear and present threat,” said Bonta, a Democrat, at a news conference. “Each of these incidents represents an attack on a person, a neighbor, a family member, a fellow Californian.”

    The 1,763 hate crimes reported in 2021 was the sixth highest tally since the department began collecting and reporting data statewide in 1995. It is also the highest since 2001, when 2,261 hate crimes fueled by the 9/11 terrorist attacks were reported in California.

    Last year’s annual report showed a similarly high increase — 31% — with anti-Black bias making up the bulk of incidents in a state where African Americans are 6% of the population. The 2020 report also showed a startling increase in bias crimes against Asian Americans following the emergence of the coronavirus in China.

    Video of assaults on Asian Americans, particularly seniors, went viral last year with San Francisco police in January reporting an astonishing 567% increase in reported crimes from the previous year. The initial count showed 60 victims in 2021, up from nine in 2020. Half of last year’s victims were allegedly targeted by one man.

    Still, not all criminal attacks carry a hate crime charge since prosecutors need to prove the suspect was motivated by bias. In San Francisco, for example, the 2021 death of an 84-year-old Thai grandfather is headed to trial although the district attorney’s office has not filed hate crime charges in that case.

    Officials say reported hate crime statistics may be far lower than actual numbers, but add they’ve taken steps to encourage reporting by victims. Nationally, hate crimes rose to the highest level in more than a decade in 2019, according to an FBI report.

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  • Why are white nationalist groups targeting LGBTQ groups?

    Posted by · July 05, 2022 11:53 AM

    NPR - Ayesha Rascoe asks Kathleen Belew, author of "Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America," why white supremacists target the people and events they do.

    AYESHA RASCOE, HOST: January 6 featured Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. A week ago, members of another white supremacist group, Patriot Front, were arrested before, authorities allege, violently disrupting a gay pride event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. What do county electoral ballots and pride parades have to do with white supremacy? Kathleen Belew studies the far right She is the author of "Bring The War Home - The White Power Movement And Paramilitary America." And she says there is a direct connection.

    KATHLEEN BELEW: That's the key thing to understand if we would like to combat this problem. And the other one we need to put on that list is seemingly individual acts of violence that result in mass casualties against targeted populations, like the one we just saw in Buffalo, but that we've also seen in El Paso and Charleston and Pittsburgh.

    These groups see gay rights, immigration, interracial contact, and especially the birth of interracial children, feminism as all being a problem because they believe that those things will undermine the white birthrate. And that means that for these activists, they see those as apocalyptic threats that are somewhat interchangeable in a larger project of protecting and preserving whiteness itself and advocating for a antidemocratic, white ethno-state, which is what they're doing.

    RASCOE: So this is separate and apart from, like, the KKK, you know, after reconstruction and things like that. You look at these as different movements?

    BELEW: Sort of. So there's two different things that happened. In 1979, the Klan joins together with a whole bunch of other people for the first time in American history. They join together with neo-Nazis, skinheads, later with militiamen, radical tax resisters, people in white supremacist religious groups. That amalgamated group - that sort of coming together - that's the white power movement. So it includes the Klan, but it's not just the Klan.

    RASCOE: It seems like targeting LGBTQ people could be a way to talk about an issue on somewhat mainstream outlets in a way that you cannot do so much when it comes to, like, targeting, like, Black people or even Hispanic people. If you just outright say, I don't think my kids should be around Black people, it seems like that might make some people uncomfortable. But if you say, I don't want my kids - I'm worried about my kids being around gay people or around drag performers, there's this whole kind of movement that allows that type of conversation to happen or feels like this kind of conversation is OK to happen. Like, is there a difference there?

    BELEW: That's an excellent observation. And you're very right to point particularly to the anti-LGBTQ activism at work right now because it goes with a larger conversation about the myth of people grooming children for "alternative lifestyle," quote-unquote, or ideas about, like, whether or not Disney is creating problems for children. So we see the mainstream manifestation, and then we see the violent, opportunistic use of that issue.

    Think about it this way. We're talking about the same activists who appeared at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and infamously were chanting antisemitic chants and doing a lot of activity that made a lot of people feel really uncomfortable. When those same activists and groups showed up on January 6, they, by and large, were not wearing swastikas and using Nazi chants and wearing Klan uniforms. They were mostly uniformed as militiamen because that is a bid for public acceptance.

    What they are always doing is looking for the open window - right? - the people that can be persuaded, recruited and radicalized further. And in our culture, with this intense political polarization that we're experiencing, there is a larger and larger set of opportunities for these groups. And this kind of opportunistic mobilization is very well-practiced and is something that they have been working with for a very long time.

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  • Thomas calls for overturning precedents on contraceptives, LGBTQ rights

    Posted by · June 27, 2022 10:03 AM

    TheHill - Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Friday called for overturning the constitutional rights the court had affirmed for access to contraceptives and LGBTQ rights in an opinion concurring with the majority to decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    In his separate opinion, Thomas acknowledged that Friday’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization does not directly affect any rights besides abortion. But he argued that the constitution’s Due Process Clause does not secure a right to an abortion or any other substantive rights, and he urged the court to apply that reasoning to other landmark cases.

    Thomas wrote, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

    Since Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion overturning Roe was leaked earlier this year, Democrats and liberal activists have warned that the conservative majority would soon turn its attention to other rights that the court has affirmed.

    The three cases Thomas mentioned are all landmark decisions establishing certain constitutional rights.

    In Griswold v. Connecticut, the court ruled in 1965 that married couples have a right to access contraceptive. In 2003, the court said in Lawrence v. Texas that states could not outlaw consensual gay sex. And the court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

    While Thomas’s comments outline the worst-case scenario for the majority’s liberal critics, it’s unclear whether the other conservative justices are willing to go as far as the court’s most senior member.

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  • Juneteenth and America’s Racial-Justice Backslide

    Posted by · June 21, 2022 10:51 AM

    NYMag - On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth, a Texas-based commemoration of the last group of slaves learning in 1865 that slavery had ended, a federal holiday. It was an ambivalent accomplishment, representing a tardy response to the racial-justice protests of 2020 and the payment of an overdue debt that Biden in particular, and Democrats generally, owed to Black voters. There were already signs that the “racial-justice summer” wave had crested, and the holiday’s embrace by corporations and the federal government would be a hollow gesture. The holiday’s “mix of low risk and low cost has made it an appealing virtue signal,” my colleague Zak Cheney-Rice argued at the time.

    Indeed, the ensuing year has been deeply discouraging for the cause of racial justice. Congress’s bipartisan talks on police reform, given new urgency by the murder of George Floyd, petered out as Republicans lost interest. Those same Republicans successfully filibustered various voting-rights measures, including a bill named after civil-rights icon John Lewis that simply restored Voting Rights Act provisions that the GOP once supported routinely. And Democrats could not muster the votes to rein in the filibuster, itself a hateful relic of Jim Crow.

    Beyond these setbacks for racial-justice legislation, it’s been a terrible year for the politics of race more generally. There are various factors driving the debate within the Democratic Party over how to approach “divisive” cultural issues and “wokeness,” but it’s hard to avoid the impression that many Democrats fear that associating too closely with Black political aims has fatally reduced their ability to win over both white working-class voters and white suburbanites. After defensively denying Republican claims that they favor “defunding the police,” some Democrats are opportunistically embracing a law-and-order backlash to selectively rising crime rates.

    Meanwhile, Republicans are zestfully embracing thinly veiled and not-so-veiled racist messaging. During Donald Trump’s administration, some conservatives supported bipartisan criminal-justice reform so strongly that the president felt compelled to (begrudgingly) sign the First Step Act; now these Republicans are in full retreat. Restoring “election integrity” — which in the absence of any actual evidence of voter fraud has to be regarded as an effort to make it harder for Democratic-leaning minority groups to vote — has become a holy cause for the GOP. And the very idea of a reckoning with slavery’s legacy has come under fire in the ubiquitous Republican assault on any discussion of racism in public-school classrooms.

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  • 31 linked to white nationalist group arrested near Pride event in Idaho

    Posted by · June 13, 2022 10:17 AM

    NBC - Thirty-one people affiliated with the white nationalist group Patriot Front were arrested near an annual LGBTQ+ event Saturday in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, police said.

    The suspects were booked on suspicion of conspiracy to riot, Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said at an afternoon news conference. Among those in custody late Saturday was a man with the same name as Patriot Front's Dallas-based founder, Thomas Ryan Rousseau.

    White said police were made aware in recent days that a number of groups planned to disrupt Pride in the Park, an annual event highlighting the civil rights struggles of LGBTQ+ communities.

    Staffing was increased and awareness was heightened by the time dispatchers fielded a report of 20 people in a U-Haul vehicle Saturday afternoon, he said.

    The suspects wore masks, had shields, and "looked like a little army," the chief said, quoting the caller who reported the suspicious activity.

    Ten minutes after that 1:38 p.m. U-Haul report, police stopped the vehicle and 31 people in "similar attire" were arrested, White said.

    Suspects resided in multiple states, including Texas, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Arkansas, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and Virginia, he said.

    "They came to riot," White said.

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  • Confronting the invisibility of anti-Asian racism

    Posted by · June 06, 2022 11:25 AM

    Brookings - Last week, a gunman opened fire in a Korean-owned hair salon in the Koreatown section of Dallas, Texas and shot three Korean women who suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The police are now investigating this as a hate crime that may be linked to two other shootings of Asian-owned businesses in the area. Anti-Asian violence and racism have surged since the Atlanta massacre last year that left eight dead—six of whom were Asian American women—but many Americans still fail to notice.

    According to a national survey by AAPI Data and Momentive, anti-Asian hate crimes have increased since the start of the pandemic: 1 in 6 Asian American adults reported experiencing a hate crime in 2021, up from 1 in 8 in 2020. In the first three months of 2022, the figure has already reached 1 in 12. This trend may continue given the rise in anti-Asian racism.

    The 2022 STAATUS Index shows that 1 in 5 Americans believe that Asian Americans are at least partly responsible for COVID-19 compared to 1 in 10 last year (see Figure 1). Americans are also now more likely to believe that referring to the coronavirus as “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus” is appropriate, and 1 in 3 believe that Asian Americans are more loyal to their country of origin than to the U.S., up from 1 in 5 in 2021.

    In the past year alone, 1 in 10 Asian Americans have been coughed on or spit on, and nearly 1 in 3 have been told to “go back to your country.” In the previous administration, it was easy to blame Trump, but we are in a new administration, and racist attacks against Asians have increased. One-third of Americans, however, continue to remain unaware.

    The invisibility of anti-Asian racism is a reflection of the invisibility of Asians in the American imagination: 58% of Americans cannot name a single prominent Asian American, and 42% cannot think of a historical experience or policy related to Asian Americans.

    The invisibility is also glaring in funding priorities. Between 1992 and 2018, the National Institutes of Health invested only 0.17% of its budget on research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Foundations have not fared better: of the $19 billion awarded between 1983 and 1990, 0.18% was awarded to AAPI organizations, increasing to 0.20% by 2018. So for every $100 awarded by foundations, 20 cents was designated for AAPI communities.

    Asian Americans also remain invisible in our school curricula: last year, Illinois became the first state to require that Asian American history be taught in public schools, and this year, New Jersey became the second. So should we really be surprised that 42% of Americans cannot name a single Asian American historical experience?

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