Vicha Ratanapakdee: San Francisco renames street for victim of deadly anti-Asian hate attack

San Francisco has renamed a street for Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai immigrant whose death in an unprovoked attack in 2021 brought attention to anti-Asian hatred.

City officials unveiled the new change over the weekend, changing Sonora Lane to Vicha Ratanapakdee Lane.

“It is my hope, our hope that the Vicha Ratanapakdee way reminds future generations that violence against our Asian community, especially the elderly, no longer has a place in our society,” Ratanapakdee’s daughter Monthanus he told CNN. “We want everyone to come together, rally and inspire leaders to stop Asian hate.”

In January 2021, a man ran across the street in the Anza Vista neighborhood and brutally pushed Ratanapakdee to the ground. The 84-year-old, who had immigrated to the US years ago to help care for his grandchildren, never regained consciousness after the attack.

A 19-year-old man was charged with murder and elder abuse in the attack and has pleaded not guilty. Family members and activists criticized San Francisco officials, including former District Attorney Chesa Boudin, for not prosecuting the attack as a hate crime and for more than a year between the violent standoff and legal proceedings.

According research by PeA majority of Asian Americans in the US feel that violence against them is getting worse, with more than a third changing their daily lives to avoid potential threats.

Assaults against AAPI Americans rose 339 percent last year compared to 2020, according to study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremismpart of an overall 11 percent increase in suspected hate crimes across the country.

The targets varied from city to city, with Black Americans still the most targeted group in most cities, while in places like New York, Jews reported the most incidents, and in Chicago, crimes against gay men topped the list of suspected hate incidents.

John C Yang, president of the civil rights group Asian Americans Advancing Justice, said at the time that the data underscored the need for solidarity among diverse groups in the US to root out identity-based hatred.

“We need to pay attention to the hate that affects all communities,” he said he told NBC News. “The support of our allies who represent diverse communities of color and diverse faith communities means a lot as our Asian American communities have come under attack. All of our diverse communities, including LGBTQ+ communities, have experienced hatred and there is a deep but tragic solidarity in that.”

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