The mayor of San Francisco city has expressed despair over the increase in reported hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific-Islanders (AAPI) in 2021, up an astonishing 567 percent from the previous year, according to preliminary figures released by the US police.
Mayor London Breed pledged continued support for the community on Tuesday, saying she suspects actual numbers are much higher because people are reluctant to report to the police.
The initial count shows 60 victims in 2021, up from nine in 2020. Half of last year’s victims were allegedly targeted by one man.
It would have broken her heart if the grandmother who raised her had been attacked “in the way that we see so many of our seniors of the AAPI community being attacked,” Breed said at Tuesday’s press conference.
“But that did not happen. Because as a community we protected one another. And that’s what we have to do now more than ever.”
Hateful attacks against AAPI communities surged nationally during the pandemic, fuelled in part by then-president Donald Trump’s calling Covid-19 a derogatory nickname that insulted China.
The Stop AAPI Hate coalition out of San Francisco State University tracked more than 10,000 incidents of hate from March 2020 through September 2021.
In San Francisco and elsewhere, video clips of Asian Americans being attacked and robbed on public streets alarmed the community so much that frightened seniors stayed home.
Most recently, former San Francisco Bay Area resident Michelle Go died in New York City after a mentally disturbed man pushed her in front of a subway.
Officials there say there is no indication the man was motivated by racial bias, but AAPI residents are still rattled.